MOROCCO, Ind. — A DeMotte man won the first ever Mud Slug Triathlon at Willow Slough May 15. Brian Culbreth of DeMotte won with a time of 2 hours 36 minutes 58 seconds. The event included 1 mile of paddling, then a 20 mile cycling portion, followed by a 10 mile run on Willow Slough’s trails.

Sara DeYoung, event coordinator for the Newton County Park Board who organized the event, said participants were definitely enthusiastic about the course even with its challenges.

“The feedback we received after advertising the Mud Slug was that the 10 mile run would deter participants. We were pleasantly surprised with the enthusiasm of those who turned out for the event. They loved the course but they were also seasoned athletes who have done larger triathlons and marathons.”

DeYoung added that they plan to make easier course options for next year’s events, with a shorter run portion definitely planned.

“The Park Board was really happy to see individuals rise to the challenge and triathlon athletes are always looking for new and different events, which they found here,” DeYoung added. “We’re confident that we can continue to draw larger groups that are interested in a long run and cycling event. We want to encourage those who aren’t as experienced though too with shorter courses. We want to especially thank the Morocco Fire Department, Newton County Amateur Radio Operators and DNR Officer Jake Chambers for assisting with making sure this was a safe event. The athletes felt very taken care of and the day would not have gone as smoothly without the assistance of these organizations and individuals.”

The event was a joint effort between Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife and the Newton County Park Board. The Jasper Newton Community Foundation and DeMotte State Bank were sponsors.

The Mud Slug accomplishes several goals of the Park Board. It allows the board to collaborate with a local partner, Fish and Wildlife. The event promotes local recreation and increases the diversity of visitors to the Slough. The Fish and Wildlife area has been doing several improvements including updates to the Headquarters and walking paths. The Park Board has assisted with signage for the walking paths, picnic shelters, benches and fire pits.

DeYoung stated with the Slough’s more central location in the county and JC Murphy Lake, it lends itself to many collaborative projects like the Park Board’s longest running event, the fishing derby.

“Last year was the first time we didn’t have the summer fishing derby. We to be able to do it again, it’s one of our most popular events and is a great way to get kids excited about fishing and the Slough.”

She said there are several prizes for children such as fishing rods, fish pillows, hats, and tackle boxes.

The annual summer fishing derby is during Indiana’s Free Fishing Weekend. People can fish for free without needing a permit from the state. The Fishing Derby registration starts at 6 am and prizes are awarded at 11 am on Saturday, June 5 at Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife. More information and signup forms can be found at www.newtoncountyparkboard.com.

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