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Mudfest canceled due to drought

5/8/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

The effect from the drought continues to send ripples through the community as Fort Hays State University has decided to cancel the 18th annual Mudfest.

The fundraiser tradition, set for Saturday, was scrapped because it would use too much water, said Ron Haag, FHSU's director of campus recreation and intramural programs.

Proceeds from the event go to charity, but an organization was not chosen before the cancelation.

"We just felt that in the best interest of conservation, you know, we are very short of water now, and Hays is putting water restrictions on the citizens," he said.

The decision also was made to cooperate with the local push to reduce unnecessary water consumption.

"I understand why people might be upset for, you know, to use that much water for a one day event in the name of just fun," he said.

The event might be rescheduled in the fall.

Brittany Sheehan, a graduate assistant in the intramural office, said a fire hose is run during the day for three days leading up to Mudfest, and garden hoses are on during the event.

"We can't justify using that kind of water," Sheehan said.

"People aren't even allowed to water their gardens right now, and here we are trying to get away with using that much water. It's not right."

The muddy event takes place in pits east of Cunningham Hall. Approximately 300 people play volleyball, compete in a tug of war, play on a slip and slide and listen to the music.

"We are sad," she said. "We always raise about $500 for a benefactor. ... It's a great way to get give back, and it's a great way to get everyone together and celebrate the school year."

Toby Dougherty, Hays city manager, said he appreciates FHSU's "attentiveness" to the water situation.