OTTUMWA — Some residents only needed two excuses for getting out on a Saturday. One was getting down and dirty at the 4-H Mudfest, and two was spending time with family.
Some attendees said they’ve watched mud drag races for years, while others said it was their first time. Dan Davis was no stranger to the sight of mud drag races. He sometimes puts on mud drag races in his backyard but wanted to come because he wanted to watch a friend race and because of his love for mud drag races.
“It really is some redneck fun,” Davis said with a laugh. “It’s great to be able to see mud flying everywhere.” Davis also came because he wanted to support the 4-H extension. “The money given will help support the extension.”
Eunice Moser was one of the first-timers. Moser regularly watches Eldon’s race nights and sometimes goes to the Eddyville race track, so Moser figured she would enjoy the mud drags.
“It’s been fun,” Moser said. “That was really cool, seeing those guys try to outdo each other. It’s loud and awesome to see mud flying. My family also had a very good time.”
Dove Johnston was also a first-timer. She came to the mud drags to celebrate her birthday. “It’s fun and exciting,” she said. “I hope people say they had a good experience and they had fun.”
Eric Redge and Joe Hribal have done mud drag races for years and chose to come back to the second 4-H mud drag races. For Redge, it’s part of his lifestyle and the family tradition. “I always have a great time, no matter what,” Redge said. “There’s nothing more exciting than seeing how fast I can go and how fast other racers can go.”
Hribal had also been racing for years and always chose to race because it’s something he is passionate about. “I’ve been racing for eight years,” he said. “I enjoy the competition.”
Hribal came to last year’s mud drag races and decided to come again this year because of what it meant to attendees. “It’s great family-fun entertainment,” he said. “It didn’t cost a lot to get in. It’s pretty good support for the 4-H.”
County Youth Coordinator Cindy Emery was one of the organizers of MUDfest. Without her involvement and help from volunteers, the mud drag races would have not happened. “We had a beautiful day today,” Emery said. “Volunteers were the top deal.”
While Emery hoped for a bigger turnout, she was happy with the amount of attendees and even said she would like to have other mud drag races next year because of what it does for the extension office. “A lot of fun things were reasonably priced that the public and youth can do and fundraise for our location and for the 4-H Youth and things we do out here,” she said.
Emery said the money from the mud drag races will go to the expo board to help “build the grounds and keep maintenance on all the buildings.”
“The funds from the mud run and volleyball tournament will go to pay senior scholarships,” she said.
For Emery, the Mudfest wasn’t just good for gaining scholarship money and funds for the expo, but also because of what the day brought to different people.
“We have a ton of 4-H families, as many people as in Wapello County,” she said. “The different activities and events you put on — you gain different groups of people. You can touch everyone with the things you put on.”