Leo Dumont passed away June 27 at the age of 65 years. He was the heart and soul of the Smoky River Mud Bogs, which will be held Aug. 11-13 at Donnelly.Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

This year, the 25th Annual Smoky River Mud Bogs will be held as a tribute to a very special man.

Long-time mud bogger, event organizer, and overall heart of the event, Leo Dumont, passed away earlier this summer, and organizers want to pay tribute to the man who made the event possible for over two decades.

“We were hoping to hold the event with Leo still in attendance, knowing earlier this year that he was very sick,” says organizer Willie Wiebe.

“Unfortunately, he has now passed away, so our 25th anniversary is in memory and honour of a mud bogs legend.”

Wiebe, along with Charlie Deslauriers and Randy Pruden, have been working hard with other volunteers to rebuild the spectator stands, clean up the mud bogs area, and prepare for the onslaught of machines expected to participate in the mud bogs Aug. 11-13 at the Donnelly Fairgrounds.

“We’re expecting a lot of people participating so it’s best to pre-register online,” says Wiebe.

“They can do this on our Facebook page Smoky River Mud Bogs. They can also register onsite, but it would speed up the process if it’s done before.”

The men say they expect a big turnout as they already have 50 confirmed participants. Deslauriers says it’s a great event if you like playing in mud and hearing the trucks.

“It’s a lot of fun listening to the roar of the machines,” says Deslaurier.

“This year just won’t be the same without Leo laughing, but we’re hoping lots of people will attend to help celebrate his life and what he loved.”

Deslauriers and Wiebe say most people who register to run in the mud bogs, or those who come to attend, have known each other for years because of this event and others over the decades. They say that becoming a part of the mud bogs is almost like becoming a part of a family.

“We’re also having a dance on Saturday with deejay Claude,” says Wiebe.

“We will have a $15 entry fee that comes with a free drink. It will be held in the pole shed gazebo after the beer gardens close on Saturday. We’re figuring about 6 p.m. the dance will start.”

Anyone over 14 years of age can participate in the mud bogs. Children under 18 will require both a parent or guardian to sign an agreement and waiver, and they will also have to have their guardian ride with them through the bogs.

Friday will be mainly a set up day, but Wiebe says the mud bogs on both Saturday and Sunday will begin at 1 p.m.

“Come out and have fun, support the mud bogs,” says Deslauriers.

“We attract mud boggers from all over Alberta and from British Columbia,” he adds.

Wiebe says the event hasn’t been run since 2019, and they’re excited to welcome back to the event. He says mud bogs were started 25 years ago by Dumont and Dale Brulotte, and they’re hoping to be able to pay tribute to Dumont with a well-attended event.

The event is expected to have an estimated $6,000 in payouts, but this total is climbing with every additional registration the group gets.

For more information, please phone Deslauriers at (780) 837-5204 or Wiebe at (780) 837-0373.

By Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 26, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   South Peace News   High Prairie, Alberta

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