Kids can find fun in something as simple as a mud puddle.

That doesn’t really work for most adults.

However, make them really big puddles with lots of mud and a bunch of obstacles and now you’re talkin’.

Introducing the Seventh Annual Mogollon Monster Mudda, the mutha of all mud runs.

It’s something out of a kids’ dream and adults eat it up.

The popular event attracted a reported 1,192 participants, not only from Rim Country, but from across the state to Payson Event Center on June 22.

They come to get muddy and this is the place just for that.

The 5-Kilometer course (3.1 miles) features about 50 obstacles.

There’s a shorter Kidz Mudda set up inside the warm-up rodeo arena, but the main course is basically an adult playground.

This is no 5K run. You can run, but not for long as one obstacle after another demands focus and agility.

The more serious participants compete for the $1,000 prize that goes to the top male and top female who turn in one of the top 10 times in the morning 5K then return at night for the Gladiator Challenge featuring 18 obstacles inside the arena.

For most, it’s really an excuse to get muddy.

One of the most popular obstacles is the water slide down the side of a dirt hill on a tarp with running water. Competitors slide into a pit of muddy water.

There’s no moving quickly through a thicker pit of mud, fittingly called the Thick Mud Pit. People seemed to be stuck in quicksand, although there have been no reports of fatalities in the event.

The Payson Fire Department reported treating five injuries, including one fractured ankle and various sprained ankles and cuts and bruises.

They leap into the mud at Look Out Drop, try to get across the Balance Logs without losing their footing.

One of the most challenging obstacles are the Monkey Bars, which some simply can’t seem to manage to get across if they even try, just like when they were kids.

They maneuver through tires lying flat on the ground like football players and climb the wall of Military Tires.

They also climb over logs, rocks, wood walls, rock walls, log walls and cargo and up ladders.

Those with a phobia of tunnels try not to panic in the Tunnel and another obstacle called Claustrophobia. There’s the Army Crawl and the Army Crawl With Water.

And there are all kinds of pits, like the Log Wall with Water Pit, Narrow Water Pit and Sand Bag Pit. Oh yeah, there’s also the just plain Pit.

And don’t forget the Tangled Shoot, Bleachers, Fire Hose Bleachers and runs through trails, corrals and stalls.

They run up and down dirt hills and mounds, and maneuver through the Zig Zag With Logs and do the Slush Walk.

And don’t forget the Whoop-De-Doos, Tangled Forest and “Grand Canyon.”

The event continues to grow and change. Reports show the 2013 event featured 269 runners in what was then billed as the Mogollon Monster Mudder. At some point, the name evolved into the Mogollon Monster Mudda and participation has approached or topped 1,000 the last few years.

It’s a real economic monster event for the town and kids of all ages are already looking forward to the 2020 Mogollon Monster Mudda.

Contact the reporter at

Contact the reporter at kmorris@payson.com

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