By Caleb Vierkant
For the last five years, businesses, families, and groups of friends have voluntarily teamed up to romp around in a giant mud pit while playing volleyball. Now in its sixth year, Hospice Brazos Valley and Slovacek’s Sausages have joined forces to raise money at their annual Hog Splash Mudd Volleyball Tournament once again. Texas A&M University’s CARPOOL will also be working with the fundraiser this year.
Hospice Brazos Valley has provided end-of-life care for the residents of the Brazos Valley since 1989. Their mission is to “…offer comprehensive care in a life-affirming manner when curative treatment is no longer possible or desired,” according to their website. They also offer a bereavement program for loved ones to receive counseling both before and after a patient’s death. Hospice Brazos Valley is the only non-profit hospice provider in the region. To gather community support, they host several events and fundraisers. One such event is Hog Splash.
The volleyball tournament was the idea of Kim Augsburger, a former staff member of Hospice Brazos Valley. She had operated a similar event at her last job in Denver for March of Dimes. Teams of at least six people, either groups of friends or representatives of a company, jump into mud pits and play volleyball in a round-robin tournament. Each team is guaranteed at least five or six games. The tournament lasts until one team stands victorious. Last year’s winning team was “Bubba’s Ballers of Bubba Moore Memorial Group, Inc.” Winners of the tournament receive bragging rights and a travelling trophy they can hold until next year’s event.
For the past five years, Hog Splash has taken place in August. This year, however, the event has been pushed to September. Hospice Brazos Valley President and CEO Craig Borchardt says that this was to try and beat the heat and to allow for more participation from college students who will be back in town for classes. Hospice Brazos Valley is also splitting this year’s proceeds with CARPOOL, the Texas A&M car service that offers free, nonjudgmental rides home during the spring and fall semesters to anyone in the Bryan/College Station area.
“While the financial support for our mission is very important to us, I think we also want it to be seen as community oriented,” says Borchardt. “It’s a family event. One of the reasons we did it was because it targets a younger audience.”
In previous years they have raised around $40,000 to $50,000. This year, their goal is to raise $75,000. The number of teams has ranged from 60 to 90 in the past.
Hospice Brazos Valley and CARPOOL will provide the volunteers for the event this year, while Slovacek’s continues to provide the location. Slovacek’s built the 12 mud pits near their location in Snook and are also the main sponsor of the event.
“Slovacek’s is our main sponsor and host because they’re the ones who basically built the mud pits and actually dug the well that’s there to put the water in the pits,” says Borchardt. “So, they really are the keystone for the event.”
“We’re happy to help host this event,” says Slovacek’s CFO Laura Doskocil. “Hospice [Brazos Valley] is a great organization … and we want to help all we can.”
Registration is a $500 minimum per team. While the minimum number of people allowed per team is six, Doskocil recommends having at least 10 to avoid getting too tired. Food and drinks will be available for purchase during the event. More information about registering can be found at Hospice Brazos Valley’s website, www.hospicebrazosvalley.org. The sixth annual Hog Splash event will begin at 9am on September 17. Questions should be directed to either firstname.lastname@example.org or info@SLOVACEK.com.