It is marketed as "probably the toughest event on the planet," and it's coming to Maysville.
In October 2012, Big Rock Off Road Park in Mason County will host a Tough Mudder competition. The site is the only location in Kentucky selected to host one of the grueling events, which has the potential to bring 6,000 to 8,000 people to the area for two-days of competition.
Duke Ford, owner of Big Rock, said he found out about the competition from Patti North, an avid 5K runner.
Tough Mudder is an outdoor obstacle course that puts participants through 10-12 miles of hills, mud, water, ropes, walls, electric shocks, and fire, according to its website.
Ford said he submitted an application in the summer to host an event, and by September, two company represents had visited his property and given it their stamp of approval.
In existence just three years, Tough Mudder will come to Big Rock Off Road Park and set up the entire course over a three-week period. The set-up will incorporate existing trails, ponds and other obstacles already in place at Ford's property.
"It's not actually a race, the purpose is to see if you can finish," Ford said. He said company officials told him its assumed only 80 percent of participants will finish the course, which can include such challenges as walking through a mud hole filled with ice, running though dangling live electric wires, belly crawling, wall climbing and huge slip and slides.
The challenge is for individuals and teams, but Ford said after watching a competition in Indiana in November, he thinks it would definitely be more fun to do the event as a team.
One event hosted in New Jersey in 2011 brought 10,000 to the challenge and Ford said it wouldn't be surprising if the Maysvile event draws several thousand people over the two days competitions are held.
He has been working with the Maysville-Mason County Convention and Visitors Bureau on such logistics as shuttle service to and from parking areas, lodging at area hotels and possibly even an event in downtown.
"We could literally make it a Tough Mudder weekend," he said, adding the exposure the city will gain from the event will be nationwide. "It will be quite an event, the potential is incredible with the publicity the town will get."
Ford said Tough Mudder has more than 1 million Facebook fans, and events are staged around the world.
Tough Mudder officials have told Ford they are excited not only about his off road park, but also the facilities and amenities the area offers to participants.
He said since he loaded the event to his off road park website just last week, he's received 500 hits on the Tough Mudder competition.
With 15 ponds, lots of good "mud places," and existing trails on his property, Ford is hoping the competition will come back again next year, but said he owes it to North for bringing the idea to him in the first place.
"I told her, 'I'm giving you credit for this,'" he said.
Tough Mudder will be held Oct. 20 and 21, at Big Rock Off Road Park on Stonelick Road. Registration starts at $90 per person, and goes up to $150 per person, with discounts for early registration.
To learn more or to register, go to www.toughmudder.com/kentucky. The website provides video of competitions, as well as training tips for participants.