091612 dirty dash LEAD

Connie Chestnut, center, makes progress crossing a gritty obstacle with help from teammates during the Dirty Dash race at the Missoula Equestrian Park in September 2012.

ARTHUR MOURATIDIS/for the Missoulian

It isn’t often that people can incorporate getting dirty into helping their community.

The fourth annual Montana Mucker, which benefits CASA of Missoula, provides an ideal opportunity for some filthy but guilt-free fun.

The mud run will be held Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Missoula County Fairgrounds.

CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates – works in the interest of children in the judicial system who are at substantial risk of or have experienced abuse or neglect. The organization is staffed by volunteers who have time and resources that lawyers and social workers often don’t.

Several years ago, CASA wanted to find a new and different way to raise money – the organization already held an annual fundraiser called the Light of Hope banquet.

“We wanted to try and do something that would attract a different crowd, something completely different,” said Kristen Vorreyer, CASA of Missoula director.

The organization knew several fundraising runs already existed and wanted its event to be unique. In 2011, it held its first mud run.

This year, CASA has partnered with the Montana Mucker, which is put on by Big Sky Orogenic Racing and Events, to keep the event local.

“We were partnered with the Dirty Dash for a couple of years, but we wanted to keep local, and with the Montana Mucker we could do that,” Vorreyer said.

The Montana Mucker is a 5K obstacle course in which participants run, jump, climb and crawl their way through 24 different challenges.

A portion of every participant’s registration fee – $50 through Aug. 31 and $60 from Sept. 1 to 6 – will go to CASA. The organization will also receive $100 for every volunteer shift, and volunteers get to run for free.

A second race starting at 2 p.m., the Mighty Mucker, offers an option for children ages 6 to 12. It’s one mile and cuts out some of the more difficult obstacles.

Kids 17 and younger registering for either race pay only $10.

“We have had a lot of luck – we had over 1,000 people show up (in previous years) and we are expecting we will get about 2,000 or more (this time),” Vorreyer said.

The Montana Mucker begins at 9:30, with groups starting every 20 minutes. The children’s Mighty Mucker will begin at 2 p.m. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes.

Big Sky Brewing Co. will provide beer, and other local vendors will be on site.

For more information and to register, visit montanamucker.com/

missoula.

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