Hannibal’s Quirky Fourth Of July Celebrations | Sharon Henry
Barbeques, watermelon and fireworks aren’t the only things our American friends will be celebrating their fourth of July holiday with today – some will be slopping around playing mud volleyball.
Mud Volleyball, It’s A Dirty Sport
Yes the champions of the 37th Annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament will be decided today in the historic Mark Twain town of Hannibal, Missouri.
The tournament held on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River began in 1979 and up to 64 teams compete. The courts are filled with a minimum of six inches of slippery Mississippi mud, enough to make the most hardened pig’s eyes water.
Each team must consist of a minimum of four with at least two women and players as young as high school students are eligible to enter.
Normal volleyball rules apply with a few exceptions: no overhead serves are allowed and no loading of the ball (adding extra mud) before serving.
Shoes are compulsory and a trick to preventing the slimy stuff infiltrating socks is wrapping a barrier of tape around the ankles. There is no trick though to staying clean – this is a messy game, a white t-shirt’s nightmare.
The nets are 10 feet high and it’s tough to spike and block when you’re stuck in mud. Skills, tactics and teamwork are the order of the day – and a whole lot of fun.
Tom Sawyer Day in Hannibal, Missouri
Another event taking place every July Fourth, is the election of Hannibal’s new Tom and Becky, now a very high profile event for the town’s young people.
Just a stone’s throw from the sports arena a fence painting competition will be taking place as part of the ‘Tom Sawyer Day’ celebrations, Mark Twain’s famous fictional character. Just like the duped friends of Tom Sawyer, contestants are required to paint a fence. They are judged on authenticity of costume, speed and painting quality. Stand too close and you’ll most certainly get splattered with whitewash.
May the best team and painter win. Happy Independence Day!