Players get muddy to benefit cleaner environments
One hundred and sixty one teams filled 24 courts. Each team had eight to 10 players. All prepared for a day full of "mud, sweat and cheers" for a great cause on Saturday morning, Aug. 5, 2023 at Riverside Park in Roscoe, benefitting Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful (KNIB).
Muddy pits awaited participants to take on the challenge of playing mud volleyball in a friendly competition. Many spectators stopped by throughout the day to watch the games and to cheer on the players.
KNIB Executive Director and event coordinator Pamela Osborne started the day by expressing thanks to all of the players and everyone else who made the mud volleyball event possible.
Everyone joined in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Jacob Herrmann, who also served as the event's DJ, sang the National Anthem. Herrmann kept the tunes and action rolling all day.
Teams gathered under various tents or stations where spirited fun was found. Some teams had placed furniture in their tents, while others enjoyed food, beverages and camaraderie in a tailgating atmosphere.
Lawn games were set up to add extra fun options while teams waited for their name to be called to the courts.
Teams had chosen unique names such as “Dirty Dads," "Hit Faced," "Screaming Sheep," and "Ace Hide."
Shannon Guzman of the team “Just The Tip” had traveled 715 miles to be at the event. Guzman said that she used to live in the area but now lives in Alabama.
On the courts, sponsors placed special signs in honor or memory of friends and loved ones.
Some teams hosted their own BBQ, while others chose from food trucks options, or picked up food from the Junior Indians Football shack which offered pulled pork, hot dogs and hamburgers.
“They served our volunteers for free, and allowed players to buy food,” Osborne said.
“The pork is cooked for 10 hours before the event. They take pride in this and have been doing it for many years,” Osborne added.
Volunteers helped to make sure that parking, registration and other parts of the day ran smoothly. Osborne said, “I would like to give special thanks to all of the volunteers, staff, and the mud committee, headed up by chairperson Stephanie Lombardi, for their many months of hard work in putting everything together.”
At the end of rounds, first and second place winners received silver or gold medals. The first place winner “Risley's Rejects” also received a trophy, marking their second year in a row of placing first. Second place honors were earned by the team “Holy Blockamole.”
Altogether, a total of $56,500 was raised to further the efforts of KNIB.
Numerous sponsors supported the event:
- Martin Exteriors was the presenting sponsor.
- Spectrum Insurance was the stage sponsor.
- The law firm of Amundsen Davis once again backed the event.
- Volunteer shirts were printed through the generosity of Northwest Bank of Rockford.
- CityBlue printed all the event signs for free.
Other sponsors and donors were:
- ARC Design who donated an ATV
- Clear Stream/Franklin Display with a donation of recycling and garbage can frames and bags
- Frito Lay - chips for volunteers
- Juan Reyes of Security Pro Intel
- Harlem-Roscoe Fire Department - for supplying the water truck and staff to run water for the showers
- Rock River Disposal - bins and shower
- Sjostrom Construction - water pump
- Rock River Service - walkie talkies
- Christofferson Moving and Storage - supply holder for supplies
- Lowe's - buckets to clean the balls
- Village of Roscoe - upkeep of Riverside Park and courts, and for going the extra mile to set up courts
- Head of the Rock volunteers
The annual event raises funds for Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful recycling and educational programs. This year marked the fourth year that the funds raised will be earmarked for KNIB. For forty years previously, the event raised funds to assist the Epilepsy Foundation.
KNIB is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, a leading national nonprofit organization which inspires and educates people to take action to improve and to beautify their community and environment.
Year round, KNIB and their team works with communities to hosts cleanup events, clothing and metals drives, Cell Phones for Soldiers, flag retirement, Christmas tree recycling, electronics drives, and Super Shredder Days where documents can be disposed of in a safer manner. Nov. 15 is slated as America Recycles Day.
Another KNIB event, the Great American Cleanup, has resulted in over 1,500 volunteers coming together locally to clean up and to beautify their communities.
At the heart of this year's mud volleyball event: getting dirty with a willingness to keep the environment cleaner on a consistent basis.
Organizers reimburse the Village of Roscoe for the cost of restoring Riverside Park to its natural state after the event.
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