Bump, set, splat: Mud courts ready for corn boil

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Catherine W. Idzerda
August 16, 2008
— In Olympic volleyball, lithe athletes leap about sand courts like gazelles with good hand-eye coordination.

At Saturday’s Rotary Corn Roast and mud volleyball tournament, athletes fed on buttered corn and beer will also leap about.

But maybe not quite like gazelles.

And definitely not in tidy white sand.

On Friday, Rotary and Labor Fest mud specialists were out in the fields behind the UAW hall on Lafayette Street, overseeing the preparations of the mud volleyball courts.

No member of the International Olympic Committee was present, but a line of snow fencing stood in nicely for the Great Wall.

“This is the biggest part of making the courts,” said Brian Westendorf, Labor Fest mud specialist, gesturing toward the big Case tractor with a tiller attached to the power take off.

The courts are used once a year at Labor Fest and then let go until the next season. Before the big event, extra topsoil is added as needed, and then all of them are tilled—and tilled and tilled and tilled until the soil turns into a fine powder. About 1,000 gallons are poured over the top to make mud.

Usually, the Rotarians use Traxler Park for their event, but spring flooding made that impossible this year.

The Rotarians are grateful for the use of the Labor Fest grounds—and the quality of their dirt.

“I’ve seen their mud, and it’s just as good as ours,” said Rick Mueller, Rotary mud master. “I’m kind of thinking we might use their technique next year.”


What: 21st Annual Rotary Corn Roast and Mud Volleyball Tournament.

When: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday.

Where: United Auto Workers Local 95 grounds, 1795 Lafayette St., Janesville.

Tickets: $2 at the gate. Free for children younger than 14, if accompanied by an adult.

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