There were 145 runners representing six states registered for the inaugural Northwoods Mullet Trail Run and Beaver Bash last May, and the race returns for its second running on April 22.
The event consists of two races -- a 10K, or approximately 6.2 miles, and a 25K, approximately 15.5 miles -- as well as "a super dope party in the back," according to the event's website. Both races start at the Cedar Glades Park Trailhead with the 25K starting at 8 a.m. and the 10K at 9 a.m.
"We have been seeing more and more trail runners and even hikers come out to the trails, and a lot of folks didn't even know that the trails were open to foot traffic because we do promote it -- it is a bike-optimized trail system," Traci Berry, Trails Coordinator for Visit Hot Springs, said.
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"These trails were built for mountain biking, but they're also -- the majority of them -- are open to foot traffic, so they're multipurpose. So we really wanted to start to kind of promote the trails to that activity or that demographic of folks that don't necessarily want to come out on a bike and use the trails but want to be on foot."
With the desire to increase the amount of literal foot traffic on the trails, Berry reached out to the Spa Pacers running club last year to create a trail race.
"Traci Berry approached me, Steve Adkinson and Becka Gartner," Kim McAllister, race services coordinator and a board member for the Spa Pacers, said. "She did that because she wanted to utilize the trails for more than bikes and bring in some runners. She knew that we had close ties with the trail running community, and we, of course, were all for it."
Last year's race was a huge success, Berry said, with a large number of people signed up and many expressing how much they enjoyed the event.
"For a running event to have that many the first year, I just thought it was a great success, and everybody loved it," she said. "They loved the route. They loved the views out here, and then of course when you have a little after-party to boot -- a lot of fun. We gave awards for the best mullet and the best fullet -- so fake mullet -- and it was fun.
"So it's an active trail-running event, but it's also a social event at the same time to bring people together to socialize. I think it's always the best way to go about things, and that tends to grow your community even more."
The planning committee did not want the name of the race to be "a boring name" due to the "fun" promotions held in the city such as the World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Stueart Pennington Running of the Tubs.
"There's always been kind of this running joke about how I've said I'm gonna go Caddyshack on the beavers because we have had to take a tree or two down for safety, and so we kind of played off of that and decided to call it a mullet because you have the business in the front -- being the 25K or 10K trail run -- and then the party in the back being the Beaver Bash," Berry said, noting there are quite a few beavers near the trail system.
"So that's why we've called it the mullet, and what you get is a trail run and a party afterward. ... I think it's catchy, and people love to have fun with that. So we encourage people to either cut their hair into a mullet or grab a wig and come out and have fun, and people did that last year and it was just a blast."
The Beaver Bash, which will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., has something for everyone, not just the runners, Berry said.
"We'll have entertainment; we'll have music," she said, noting Beaver Bash tickets can be purchased for $10 per person.
"Of course, we do the awards ceremony where we have some fun awards that we give out, and then we also give out like the top male and top female in each distance category. And then of course, we have our 'fullet' and mullet awards."
Superior Bathhouse Brewery "has come out and been a sponsor in the past and participated with us, and then we'll grill hamburgers and hot dogs. So we have food and beverages and music and just have a really fun time," she said.
Those interested in participating in the races or just purchasing tickets for the Beaver Bash can go to https://bit.ly/40zZITq. As of presstime, 28 people were registered for the 25K with 44 registered for the 10K.
"So you can come run with us and be all about the business, or you can come party with this and be all about the Beaver Bash and the party in the back, or you can enjoy all of it," Berry said. "It's an opportunity also for folks that may be a little bit hesitant to just come out and watch and meet people and talk to them and just have a good time."