After months of preparation and much anticipation, Feb. 11, dawned cold and misty, with a hint of rain. It was the perfect day for the Anza Lions’ Valentine’s Day Mud Fest held at the gymkhana field in Anza.
Contestants came from near and far to compete with their various machines for the title of Mud King and Queen, with trophies and cash prizes being offered for the fastest times. Dirt bikes, SUVs, Jeeps, Razors, four-wheel drive (and not) pickup trucks, buggies and even a sand rail and a real monster truck had the crowds howling encouragement and advice as they fought to race through the 120-foot mud-filled track. Muddy globs flew in every direction and the action was nonstop. The crowd favorites did not disappoint.
“We had a lot of interest for this event,” said Johanthan Schmidt, chairman of the Mud Fest.
Besides action-packed mud racing, delicious barbecue tri-tip sandwiches were cooked up on-site by Danny Stone, while Lions volunteers and Jessica Bell with her 4H children whipped up hamburgers, hot dogs and nachos.
The winners for time trials were Rodney Bourgeois in first place, Braden Firth in second and Fred Parle in third.
Ryan Welfle was crowned Mud King and Heather Marie Wilson the Mud Queen.
It was a festive day of friends, community and sociable competition.
The huge John Deere tractor was supplied by Danny Stone, who salvaged mired machines from the muck. S&K Grading provided the water tender that created the mud. The Firth family, Roddy Bourgeois and many others helped to provide funds for the water. Nick Schmitz and Miles Hoops donated recovery expertise. Heritage Well Service donated use of the PA system and contributed toward the water purchase. Schmidt’s Ranch Services performed field prep and organization. Many volunteers, including Austin Ellington, Braden Firth and Squeak Smith, put in countless hours to ensure this event would be a success and if the smiles on the faces of those in attendance were any indication, their hard work paid off.
Schmidt, who created the event, worked tirelessly to ensure it would be properly organized. From securing sponsors, water and the tractor to form the mud track to social media marketing of the Mudfest, this event was his passion and his hard work paid off nicely.
“It was great to have this as something new, the Lions are working to have a lot of new events this year and we want to add more events and reach more people in the community, while sticking with the traditional affairs as well,” said Lions Club president Michelle “Mimi” Brown.
““Lion Johnathan chaired this event for us and his company Schmidt Ranch Services donated a lot of time and effort and hard work pulling it off,” Brown said in an emailed statement. “(He spent) many days out there in the field working. He and his wife Breana’s time at the field preparing for this helped bring awareness to some busted pipes from one of the winter storms, which they donated their time and hard work to repair and also alerted us to the break in, resulting in the recovery of our golf cart with the help of the eyes and ears of our community. We still have a lot to replace from the break in but if it weren’t for their time and dedication we may not have been aware of it so soon. Johnathan’s been a great addition to the club and we appreciate him.”
Every cent the Lions raise goes back to the community. The Lions donate to different organizations, families and more throughout the year. For 2016 the group gave away $2,000 more than the prior year and would like to surpass that amount for 2017.
Those who are interested in joining the Anza Valley Lions Club or helping in any way, should call Brown at (760) 637-9173 for more information.
“I’m sure we can find something that interests you,” she said.
The Valentine’s Day Mud Fest interested many, and the next one will be an even bigger success.