The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 19, 2013

Jo Ellis: Mudslinging can be fun when it’s in the hands of kids

By Jo Ellis

CARTHAGE, Mo. — CARTHAGE, Mo. — It’s slick. It’s sticky. It’s goopy. It’s soupy. It’s Mudstock 2013, and it’s going to be so much fun for kids.

But hold on. Carthage police Chief Greg Dagnan said Mudstock isn’t just for kids. “Adults go through it all the time, and they have just as much fun,” he said, adding, “I think.”

For the past 13 years, Mudstock has been held thanks to the volunteer work of the Alliance of Southwest Missouri, the Carthage Police and Fire departments, the Missouri Army National Guard (whose soldiers excavate the pits and prepare the course), the Carthage Parks and Recreation Department, Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital, Carthage Ambulance, Carthage Caring Communities, and several other groups and individuals.

This year, it is slated for noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the old airport grounds location behind Wal-Mart. The event’s theme, “Keep your insides clean and drug-free and your outside muddy,” describes its purpose of promoting healthy and fun-filled activities for kids to help them steer clear of harmful drug activity.

Mudstock is free for all. Parents or guardians must sign a permission form, and if children are 12 or younger, a parent or guardian must remain on the Mudstock grounds while their children are participating.

Participants must wear a shirt, shorts or pants, and socks and shoes (no sandals) for safety reasons. And the last rule is: You must be willing to have muddy fun.

The Mudstock course is a mix of dirt, water, an obstacle course with rope swings, mud pits to wallow in, mud hills to climb and mud slides to slide down, and low rope obstacles. Just put your kids in their old clothes and old socks and shoes, and let them come out to have a blast. Just as a precautionary warning, you may want to throw those old clothes and shoes away afterward. It just depends on how good your washing machine is or how strong your elbow grease is.

This year, mud volleyball games and other activities are being included to attract some of the older kids who may be ready to “graduate” from the regular Mudstock course.

Mudstock is just one of several programs in which Carthage Caring Communities is involved to foster drug-free communities. From 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays from June 4 though Aug. 6, child-parent relationship training sessions will be held at Grace Episcopal Church, 820 Howard St.

Larry R. Beckett and Erin Martin will offer training in regaining control as a parent, helping children develop self-control, effective disciplining and limiting of inappropriate behavior, understanding your child’s emotional needs, and communicating more effectively with your child.

All sessions are free, and child care is provided. Details: 417-358-3270.

Be sure to bring a camera to Mudstock. Some of those pictures could be priceless family treasures someday — or some pretty good leverage in a blackmailing deal.

ADDRESS CORRESPONDENCE to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email