A down and dirty competition Saturday slopped up a lot of good clean fun and slipped in some funding for community causes.
“Absolute fun! We will never look at each other the same in the workplace,” said a mud-covered Dave Truax from the Winton-Ireland Strom & Green team.
“Now that you’ve been dirty and filthy and losing together, that bonding will never go away,” he said with a chuckle.
“Emphasis on the losing,” added teammate Sean Carr, 17.
The teams’ scores were switched when they changed sides midgame, players said with a laugh. “It was great to get messy for no apparent reason – well, there was actually a good reason,” Carr said.
Saturday’s Muddy With a Mission volleyball tournament and fair was a joint effort by Turlock Gospel Mission, Turlock Pregnancy Center and Prodigal Sons & Daughters addiction treatment center.
“We wanted to raise awareness and raise funds, but mostly we wanted to have a fun, family day to just give back,” said Gena Larson, pregnancy center director.
“People are having fun. People are having a blast. That’s the most successful part of all this,” said Rory McIlvain of the mission.
“We hadn’t anticipated making much money. It’s our first year – we’re just getting our feet muddy,” said Judi Hedstrom of Prodigal Sons & Daughters.
The dirt came courtesy of New Life Christian Center, which owns the Highway 99 frontage between the church and a neighboring car dealership just off Fulkerth Road. Water from a hydrant rained into the pits from a 1,000 gallon-per-minute fire monitor mounted on a Turlock Rural Fire Department rig.
The water was metered and paid for, noted Rhonda Boucher with the gospel mission, but firefighters donated their time, as did roughly 60 other helpers throughout the event. The church donated the space.
Emanuel Medical Center had a booth with ice, water and first aid supplies. By noon, the only casualty was a small scrape. “One Band-Aid. That’s it,” nurse Sarina Grenz said.
Craft and food vendors set up for business in the parking lot. Miniature donkey Zeke made friends at the small petting zoo, which also offered chickens, a dog and a dwarf goat.
Most kids, however, were in the mud. Youngsters sat, splashed and rolled in the mud, squishing it through their fingers and slapping fistfuls onto mini-mountains that slowly melted back into the ooze.
At the PVC pipe shower station, 5-year-old Kimberly was drenched head to toe after repeated belly flops in the mud, reported her mom, Leslie Wagoner. The best part of the day, Wagoner said, “was letting them just get dirty.”
Kimberly’s older sister was on the Pitman High FFA team, getting showered at the volleyball pit by the fire engine’s spray. Cheyenne Wagoner said the best part was being with FFA friends and meeting new people.
The team had won one game, lost two by the midday break. Discussing strategy, Nolan Nguyen suggested the team just spike the ball and not try to set up shots. “It takes an organized team to do that,” he said.
Though all are in FFA, two weeks into school many on the team had just met, said ag teacher Nicole Silveira. “I really love seeing them all working together and bonding. They’ll go to school on Tuesday and be the talk of the town.”
Three slightly crusty teammates dried in the sun, walking to their car during a break after three victorious matches for Turlock Covenant Church.
The best part of the day wasn’t the wins, said Adriana Latronica.
“It’s the mud, of course!”