Digging Deep In Mud Volleyball

Hannibal's July Fourth Mud Volleyball Tournament is actually quite a good sporting event. Once you get past the mud element, the volleyball quality is surprisingly high.

Hannibal’s July Fourth Mud Volleyball Tournament is actually quite a good sporting event. Once you get past the mud element, the volleyball quality is surprisingly high.

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.

Before and after - Competitors undergo a 'uniform' transformation during the opening few points of each game! But it's all part of the attraction of Hannibal's July Fourth Mud Volleyball Tournament on the banks of the Mississippi River.

Before and after – Competitors undergo a ‘uniform’ transformation during the opening few points of each game! But it’s all part of the attraction of Hannibal’s July Fourth Mud Volleyball Tournament on the banks of the Mississippi River.

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.

July Fourth celebrations - Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

July Fourth celebrations – Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

A messy American, July Fourth sporting tradition, the Annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament underway in Hannibal, Missouri.

A messy American, July Fourth sporting tradition, the Annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament underway in Hannibal, Missouri.

"Did we win the point?" Messy American July Fourth sporting tradition, the Annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament underway in Hannibal, Missouri.

“Did we win the point?”
Messy American July Fourth sporting tradition, the Annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament underway in Hannibal, Missouri.

The spectators are a mix of team supporters and others just taking in this fascinating spectacle.  July Fourth celebrations - Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

The spectators are a mix of team supporters and others just taking in this fascinating spectacle.
July Fourth celebrations – Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

Fully committed to the cause! This player managed to play the ball before landing full length in the Mississippi mud.   July Fourth celebrations - Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

Fully committed to the cause! This player managed to play the ball before landing full length in the Mississippi mud.
July Fourth celebrations – Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

Annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament underway in Hannibal, Missouri.

Annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament underway in Hannibal, Missouri.

July Fourth celebrations - Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

July Fourth celebrations – Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

Annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament underway in Hannibal, Missouri. Surprisingly, the spectators stit quite close without getting 'splashed' as the thick mud doesn't fly too far. The Mississippi River is directly behind the grassy bank at the back of the photo.

Annual Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament underway in Hannibal, Missouri. Surprisingly, the spectators stit quite close without getting ‘splashed’ as the thick mud doesn’t fly too far. The Mississippi River is directly behind the grassy bank at the back of the photo.

July Fourth celebrations - Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

July Fourth celebrations – Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

Bladed sports shoes seem to be footwear of choice for grip in the mud, and duct tape is used to try keep mud out.   July Fourth celebrations - Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

Bladed sports shoes seem to be footwear of choice for grip in the mud, and duct tape is used to try keep mud out.
July Fourth celebrations – Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

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.

By the time teams swap ends after the first game, everyone is coated in mud.  July Fourth celebrations - Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

By the time teams swap ends after the first game, everyone is coated in mud.
July Fourth celebrations – Mississippi Mud Volleyball Tournament takes place every year in Hannibal, Missouri.

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.

Another July Fourth, Independence Day tradition in Hannibal, Missouri, is the 'Tom Sawyer Day' fence painting competition which takes place near the mud volleyball, along the banks of the Mississippi River.

Another July Fourth, Independence Day tradition in Hannibal, Missouri, is the ‘Tom Sawyer Day’ fence painting competition which takes place near the mud volleyball, along the banks of the Mississippi River.

Another July Fourth, Independence Day tradition in Hannibal, Missouri, is the 'Tom Sawyer Day' fence painting competition which takes place near the mud volleyball, along the banks of the Mississippi River. Competitors run to their 'fence,' which they cover in whitewash as fast as possible before dashing back to the finish line.

Another July Fourth, Independence Day tradition in Hannibal, Missouri, is the ‘Tom Sawyer Day’ fence painting competition which takes place near the mud volleyball, along the banks of the Mississippi River. Competitors run to their ‘fence,’ which they cover in whitewash as fast as possible before dashing back to the finish line.

Fence painting in Hannibal, Missouri, for 'Tom Sawyer Day' is a popular event every July Fourth. The whitewash on the fences are hosed off between each 'race' and used again for the next set of entrants. Local businesses all sponsor the events each year.

Fence painting in Hannibal, Missouri, for ‘Tom Sawyer Day’ is a popular event every July Fourth. The whitewash on the fences are hosed off between each ‘race’ and used again for the next set of entrants. Local businesses all sponsor the events each year.

Fence painting in the annual, July Fourth, 'Tom Sawyer Day' competition is a very messy affair - don't stand too close! Hannibal, Missouri, on the banks of the Mississippi River is the boyhood home of American writer, Mark Twain, and this fun competition based on an event in his Tom Sawyer books, has become a famous tradition for the town.

Fence painting in the annual, July Fourth, ‘Tom Sawyer Day’ competition is a very messy affair – don’t stand too close! Hannibal, Missouri, on the banks of the Mississippi River is the boyhood home of American writer, Mark Twain, and this fun competition based on an event in his Tom Sawyer books, has become a famous tradition for the town.

Another set of 'Toms' get racing to paint their fence first. Fence painting in Hannibal, Missouri, for 'Tom Sawyer Day' is a popular event every July Fourth.

Another set of ‘Toms’ get racing to paint their fence first. Fence painting in Hannibal, Missouri, for ‘Tom Sawyer Day’ is a popular event every July Fourth.

May the best team and painter win. Happy Independence Day!

7 thoughts on “Digging Deep In Mud Volleyball

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s