By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Fort Hood Herald

It isn’t often that parents encourage their children to play in the mud, but when they did at a 1st Cavalry Division event on Saturday, the young ones obliged.

The 1st Brigade’s 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment and the Armed Services YMCA hosted the second annual Mud Run last weekend at a site near Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area for soldiers and their families. The battalion’s rear command hosted a similar event last year when the division was deployed to Iraq.

Events were open to children, teams, couples and individuals and included races through muddy courses.

The first race of the day was for children and after trudging through a watery, muddy pit, a clever kid-washing water slide awaited them at the end of the course.

Alyssa Rogers seemed a bit hesitant to wade through the mud, but enjoyed the “swipper swide” — her favorite part. Her dad, Sgt. Josh Rogers, gave her a push down the plastic-sheeting slide and the 3-year-old couldn’t get enough. She repeatedly ran back to the top of the slide and hollered for her dad to send her sailing again.

Alyssa looked forward to the Mud Run for weeks, said Josh, who is an infantryman in the battalion’s Bravo Company.

The best thing about an event like this is that families can come out and have fun, said Lt. Col. Timothy M. Karcher, the battalion’s commander.

“It’s just a fun thing for the soldiers and their families,” he said. “There’s nothing here that isn’t for them.”

Karcher has been in command for just three weeks and the event also gave him an opportunity to meet soldiers and the families that make up the unit.

The 1st Brigade soldiers were among the final 1st Cavalry troopers to return from Iraq early this year. Families are reconnecting and that can be a difficult time, said Maj. Jason Hayes, the battalion’s operations officer.

Though it was a Mud Run, families didn’t have to get dirty. The Armed Services YMCA provided food and Monster Energy handed out free cans of their product. Other sponsors included Pioneer Services and the United Services Organization.

The battalion is the organization’s Adopt a Unit and Hayes said it provides a lot of support to the unit.

Hosting Mud Runs is a tradition for the organization nationwide, said Lionel Collins, associate executive director. Some organizations and military installations use it as a fundraiser, he said, and they hope to do that in the future.

The Mud Run brings soldiers and their family members out so they can get their minds off other things, Hayes said.

Heather Bawden said it helped with morale and served as a way to get families together. She was at the event with her husband, 1st Sgt. Doug Bawden; their 6-year-old son, Sammonte; and their chocolate Lab, Sampson.

The Mud Run wasn’t a typical family readiness group meeting that just the spouses attend, she said. Saturday’s event provided an opportunity for everyone to relax and let their hair down.

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at or call (254) 501-7547

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