Scottsdale’s still king of the mud hill - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Scottsdale’s still king of the mud hill

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Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 6:18 am | Updated: 6:32 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Sometimes we in Scottsdale are a little too thin-skinned, myself included. We really should feel honored when other cities seek to imitate us.

Chandler built a mall that has many of the same stores as Scottsdale Fashion Square. Phoenix has several upscale retail outlets on its side of Scottsdale Road using Scottsdale addresses.

And now, Queen Creek.

No, they’re not building a Neiman Marcus. It’s still mostly new homes that are going up by the bushel there. But on Saturday, the town held a family event, sponsored by this newspaper, called “Monsoon Madness.” Sunday’s Tribune had a photo of kids enjoying themselves in a mud pit called the Monsoon Mudslide, and ...

Sound familiar?

“It’s the sincerest form of flattery,” said Scottsdale senior recreation coordinator Terry Erickson, who’s been involved with Scottsdale’s legendary Mighty Mud Mania muddy obstacle course event for 30 years. “It shows a community that cares about kids.”

Erickson said Tuesday that Mighty Mud Mania — the 32nd annual mud extravaganza is July 27 at Chaparral Park — has had many imitators across the country. She showed me an e-mail message from a counterpart in Tucson saying its “Mud Puddle” event will be Aug. 4.

But Queen Creek? Well, that’s getting close. But Scottsdale’s got little to worry about, according to what the town’s special events and programs manager said to me about Monsoon Madness.

“Our event is more water-based than mud-based,” said Adam Robinson, who added Queen Creek’s event at Founders Park — now five years old — had only one mud pit compared with several in Scottsdale. It featured several other water-based activities, including the “Human Car Wash,” a 25-foot-long gauntlet of sprinkler and shower heads designed to get muddy people relatively clean, he said.

“Our mud part is no comparison in any way, shape or form to what Scottsdale is doing,” Robinson said.

So rest assured that when it comes to mountains of mud, we in Scottsdale still rule.

Still, this year’s Queen Creek event was an upgrade from previous years when the town only offered a mud pit. This year, a slide was built so kids could ride a slippery slope down into the mud, he said.

In Scottsdale, participants emerging from the obstacle course are hosed down with water by local firefighters.

On the day of the rollout of a revamped Scottsdale city Web site on Tuesday, Mighty Mud Mania was the spotlighted item, featuring a group shot of smiling, waving, muddy kids.

Born in the 1970s as the backdrop for the shooting of a television commercial for a detergent, it has survived as the unlikely symbol of summer fun in an unlikely host city: spiffy, image-conscious Scottsdale.

Thank goodness that cachet isn’t always king.

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