By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
A request for an amendment to the Mud Fest 2012 application was approved by the Morrison County Commissioners Tuesday. Ron and Ralph Rinkel will be eliminating all All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) from the event, which will reduce the number of people attending.
Following two meetings and a phone call between Mud Fest organizers Ron and Ralph Rinkel and Morrison County Sheriff Michel Wetzel, general agreement was reached on a number of things.
“We will be removing any and all ATVs (including class 1 and 2, scooters and golf carts) from the event,” said Ralph Rinkel. “This will eliminate one big hassle, which is the issue of drinking and driving and public safety. This also reduces the estimate of tickets being sold to 2,500 for the weekend.”
Wetzel made final recommendations based on that decision. “As long as all ATVs are not allowed, not even parked outside the gate; if all mud trucks are restricted to the pit or parked adjacent to the pit, and there is no travel of mud trucks through the grounds; if all mud truck operators sign a waiver agreeing to submit to a portable breath test (PBT) upon request at any time; then the Morrison County Sheriff’s Department could eliminate one transport officer on both Saturday and Sunday and could drop the DUI officer at the jail and I will approve the plan for this year only,” he said.
“We have to respond everywhere in the county where we might be needed,” said Wetzel. “From the southeast corner of the county to the northeast corner is pushing 70 miles. Even with lights and sirens, that’s a long trip.”
Brian Middendorf, Morrison County Attorney, said, “If the Rinkels are agreeing to reduce the maximum number of tickets, beef up security and agree to the sheriff’s proposals so that the sheriff will be approving this, then there is no need for a waiver. I’m quite comfortable that the Board can approve this application.”
“We’ll have more than one security person per 100 people,” said Ralph Rinkel.
Mark Ehlenz, CFO of Security Specialists Inc. said, “Our function is to have a working relationship with the people who hired us and with the local sheriff’s department.”
Commissioner Jeff Schilling suggested the Rinkels take a poll when sending out flyers for the event, asking about various alternatives for a date to hold the event that would not be on a holiday weekend.
The variances and conditions in effect for the license are: variance from requirements Section 5, Subd. 4 E2 (fencing); variance from requirements Section 5, Sudb. 4 E8 (lighting); calcium chloride be applied on the road 300 feet from each side of two residential driveways for a total of 1200 feet prior to the events. If calcium chloride is applied to the roadway for the May event, it is not required for the September event; eliminate all ATVs (class 1 and 2, scooters, and golf carts) from the site; restrict mud trucks to pit or designated parking area adjacent to pit, no mud trucks in or around camping areas; every mud truck operator must sign a waiver permitting PBT by deputies whenever in trucks; ticket numbers for the event will be 500 on Friday for on-grounds camping, 1,500 for Saturday (800 camping and 700 daily), 750 on Sunday (500 camping and 250 daily); and a letter of agreement from Security Specialists, Inc. outlining the number of unarmed security officers to be provided.
Mud Fest will be held May 25-27 and Aug. 31 to Sep. 2 in Hillman.