Habitat for Humanity gets muddy for fundraising event

An estimated 500 people took part in a charity mud volleyball tournament.

Jake Grovum

On a windy afternoon in Maple Grove, a football field-sized patch of mud served as the backdrop for the first Habitat for Humanity at the University fundraiser of the upcoming school year.

The group held Muddy Sunday, a mud volleyball tournament that raised $4,000 for the group, last weekend. All proceeds from the event, apart from beer sales, went to Habitat for Humanity.

Revenue from beer sales went to the park.

The tournament had 60 teams participate, with an estimated 500 people in attendance at Corcoran Lions Park on Sunday. The 10 courts were sprayed with large hoses throughout the day.

Jason Jones, a graduate of the University’s Duluth campus was at the event with his softball team.

“I have never been this messy in my entire life, except when I was a kid. I ate a lot of dirt, but this has been really fun,” he said. “I like the fact that beer is only $2, not $5 a cup.”

Some participants were caked in mud from the play alone, while others took it upon themselves to dive into the puddles of muddy water that soon covered most of the courts.

“This is a blast, getting muddy, it’s fun to watch people just jump and dive and face-plant in the mud,” Jones said. “I haven’t done any diving yet, but I’ve done a lot of running and splashing around.”

Architecture senior and Collegiate Challenge Coordinator for the University’s Habitat for Humanity chapter, Kyle Skar, volunteered at the event.

“I was just surprised at the number of people that showed up, it was just amazing,” he said. “Some people were more adamant about it than others, and some people were all about getting dirty.”

The event was held to raise money to sponsor a house that the group will soon build somewhere in the Twin Cities next year.

“A lot of people that I talked to wanted to help out and have it go to a good cause,” Skar said. “I wish I would have gotten a team together myself; it looked like a lot of fun.”

Last year the group’s fundraising goal was $11,000. The goal for this year has not been set.

Mud volleyball tournament director Stephen Dick held his first mud volleyball tournament while attending Notre Dame as a fundraiser for the Habitat for Humanity chapter there.

“I had to leave the very next year, so I never got to watch it grow,” he said. “Over the past couple years Ö it grew to be one of the bigger events on campus.”

Dick said the high level of interest and enthusiasm of those at the event makes him hopeful next year’s event will be even bigger.

“It’s such a unique thing, and I think people are always looking for new ways to have fun,” he said. “People want to do some good and if they can have some fun while doing it by making a donation they’ll do it.”

Dick hopes to find corporate sponsorship for next year’s event and to double the size of the tournament, possibly adding a second day.

As the tournament progressed, some participants hosed themselves off in between matches while others seemed content to stay covered in mud.

“Diving face-first into the mud, those type of people are the lifeblood of an event like this; they keep the energy going,” Dick said. “Those are the people I want at the event anyway.”

Jason Jamar was at the event with a team of mutual friends. He was covered in mud after three matches.

“(After) I’m going to go down the street there because I know there’s some rich people, and (I’m) going to wash up in their pool,” he said laughing. “The cops will be there right away. No, I’ll probably hose off.”

Dick said the draw of an event like this is that people can let loose and benefit charity at the same time.

“Usually you spend your life trying not to get dirty and then you kind of dedicate one day where you’re like, ‘I’m going to get as dirty as possible,’ ” Dick said.

“It’s just kind of fun; it’s like you’re breaking the rules.”