Bringing on the mud in EG

EAGLE GROVE – Having made a last-minute decision to participate in the bathtub races at the annual Eagle Grove Summerfest held in Greenwood Park, Caitlin Jeske, of Fort Dodge, quickly regretted her footwear choice for a day in the park.

She wore flipflop sandals, perhaps not the most ideal shoe for gaining traction in wet grass while pushing a wheeled bathtub.

“It was not easy,” she said after finishing the first heat of the race.

Her sister, Kelsey Jeske, of Fort Dodge, steered the contraption, sort of – they tended to veer a bit left, and right, from the marked path.

“I was overcorrecting myself,” she said.

Winning the races is about more than just pushing and steering the three-wheel tub. The driver also has to stop and successfully catch six water balloons halfway through the course.

The third team member, Hanna Heffeman, of West Des Moines, felt they might have an advantage against the next group they were racing.

“We’re going up against high-schoolers next,” she told her teammates, “their hands aren’t near as soft, they won’t be able to catch the water balloons.”

While it may not have been the deciding factor, that other team did actually break a few more balloons.

Leslie Cooper, 16, of Eagle Grove, was the driver for another team. She said while steering was rather difficult. The complete absence of brakes was also a problem.

“I was yelling at them to stop,” she said.

Malory Hammitt, of Vincent, was helping Cooper push – and stop.

She opted for the natural traction afforded by her bare feet.

“It was better,” she said. “I would have slipped out of my flipflops.”

While they are no longer usable to splish splash in with a yellow rubber duck – the participants in the mud volleyball tournament were going to need a tub once they finished their game.

Olivia Flumerfelt, 12, of Eagle Grove, got pretty covered.

Getting home, without soiling the family car was covered.

“I have a towel,” she said.

Once she gets there, she wasn’t sure if her family would let back inside without a hosing down in the yard.

She gave the odds of that a firm “maybe.’

The goo is a great hindrance to playing well, she said.

“It’s really hard,” she said. “It gets kind of sticky after awhile when it dries on your hand.”

It also gives gravity an extra boost.

“You can’t really jump,” Flumerfelt said.

Kelsey Jeske played in the mud after the tub races too. She had a different solution to keeping her vehicle clean.

“We’re going to have somebody bring a truck,” she said. “We’ll hop in the back.”

For those not inclined to get muddy, the three-legged races offered another option.

Cael Wesselink and his friend Trey Shannon, both 11 of Eagle Grove, formed a good team. They got second place in their heat.

New to the sport, they had to learn on the spot.

“We had to use a tactic of one two, one two,” Cael Wesselink said.

Other events during the day included the Text Off where entrants could check their texting speed against others. A walk around downtown featured a talk by Ron Mohr about some of the historic buildings. At Art in the Park, children were able to create masterpieces to take home. They could also opt for the Fly Like an Eagle 5K run. A street dance was an evening highlight.