Mud used as bonding tool at New Castle’s Dirty Hog Dash |

Mud used as bonding tool at New Castle’s Dirty Hog Dash

One girl climbs out of the mud pit during the Dirty Hog Dash event in New Castle on Saturday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

When Rachael Knable wants to set an example, she’s sliding down a tarp, climbing up a rockwall and crawling through a soupy pool of mud.

The local mother of four joined her kids — Eva, Zoe, Mavis and Coraline — in taking on Saturday’s Dirty Hog Dash. The New Castle fundraiser has kids ages 4-14 conquering a series of man-made obstacles over nearly a mile-long course at VIX Ranch Park.

The grueling boot-camp-for-kiddos is made up of things like makeshift waterslides, courses furnished with pool noodles and cones and the dirtiest part of all: the mud pit.

“At first, my oldest daughter did not want to get in the mud,” Knable said. “At the very end, she’s been in it multiple times now. When she got out, her favorite part? The mud.”

Rachael Knable crawls through mud with fellow participants during the Dirty Hog Dash event in New Castle on Saturday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Saturday marked the fourth annual Dirty Hog Dash, an event that drew about 350 participants in 2021. New Castle Recreation Director Hannah Bihr said this year about 370 kids attended. The 20-kid increase was on par to raise about $8,000 in revenue.

Bihr said about 30 volunteers showed up around 6 a.m. to assemble the course of 20 obstacles.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser for our parks and recreation department,” she said.

It’s also a great community event, Bihr said.

“It’s outdoor fitness, wellness and doing it all with your family,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

This was Knable’s first time bringing her kids the Dirty Hog Dash she said. Knable is also a girls youth soccer coach for the Roaring Fork United soccer club, and an event like this helps her athletes gel.

Dirty Hog Dash participants covered in foam in New Castle on Saturday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

“It’s fun because we have multiple families here — boys, girls from the 14 to the littles,” Knable said. “It’s more like a team bonding thing that we came here for.”

Zoe, Knable’s 10-year-old daughter, thought the climbing obstacles were the funnest considering how tough they were, she said.

Sliding down tarp into a foam pit and crawling through a mud bath were different for Zoe, however.

“The foam was fun but it was also not fun because it burned your eyes,” Zoe Knable said. “The mud was also hard. It hurt your knees.”

But the mud pit and the rest of the obstacles are why Rachael Knable wants more coaches and young athletes to come back next year. 

“It’s gonna be something on my coach’s plan,” she said. “I’m gonna fill team-bonding events, and this will be one of them.”

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