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Tough Mudder finds new home at winery in Warren County

By: Jessica Meszaros

The Battlegrounds at Cedar Lake obstacle course

On Dec. 19, winery and event venue Cedar Lake Cellars announced a potential five-year partnership with Tough Mudder, Inc., to serve as the official Missouri location for the Tough Mudder event, beginning in 2018 with events on Aug. 11 and 12.

“There’s been a lot of excitement and anticipation of something going on,” said Carl Bolm, owner of Cedar Lake Cellars and The Battlegrounds. “Our social media, especially our pages for The Battlegrounds, has been blowing up. It’s just been an overall very positive response to be able to attract literally an international company, not only to the state of Missouri but out in Warren County and to Cedar Lake Cellars.”

Carl Bolm, owner of Cedar Lake Cellars and The Battlegrounds [Cedar Lake Cellars photo]

Cedar Lake Cellars, 11008 Schreckengast Road in Wright City, is located on the same property as The Battlegrounds, a permanent mud run and obstacle course. Much of the necessary equipment and amenities for the Tough Mudder weekend is already installed on The Battlegrounds site.

“We’ve been in touch with Tough Mudder for the past couple months,” Bolm said. “It was easy talking to Tough Mudder because they’re dealing with the same things we’re dealing with [in terms of ] logistics, in-and-out, safety and such.

“We’re already a fixed course, we already have everything we’d need for the event in place here. There’s also a dedicated well on site, which is good because there’s a lot of water involved in the Tough Mudder event and the obstacle course. Everything, including the power, the electric, the water and the obstacles are already here.”

The property is no stranger to hosting obstacle courses and other athletic-related events. In addition to the Tough Mudder Weekend, the venue will also host its 11th and final Battleground race on May 19 and its first-ever Missouri Wine Wobble in April 2018.

“Our Saturdays can bring in up to 1,500 to 2,500 in our peak seasons, so I think that and our location were the differentiators for our location,” Bolm said.

Other contenders for the Tough Mudder included the cities of Columbia and Sedalia, and most recently, Hidden Valley Ski Resort in Wildwood.

Wildwood signed a community support agreement for involvement with Tough Mudder in October. According to Julian Jacquin, Wildwood’s economic development manager, the other side of that partnership required Hidden Valley to sign a venue agreement with Tough Mudder to outline responsibilities between both parties. However, time ran out, largely due to ongoing discussion between the city and Hidden Valley regarding a proposed Zip Line Tour to be constructed and operated in 2018.

“Hidden Valley signing that agreement that would have been the final approval to sign on Tough Mudder for next year, but because of [its] Zip Tour proposal … and potential dates of construction for the zip line, it got to a point where Hidden Valley wasn’t able to sign the agreement … [and] host the event next year,” Jacquin said.

According to Jacquin, Wildwood still hopes to host Tough Mudder in the future, and isn’t out of the running as a possible host location past 2018.

“Really the only thing slowly it down right now is the timing and the construction process of the zip line,” Jacquin said. “Once that project is completed and we are provided with an opportunity to do so, I think everyone is still very interested in an event like [Tough Mudder], given the nature of the property and having the unique topography, chairlifts and views that are place at Hidden Valley.”

Cedar Lake Cellars is located in Warren County near Hwy. 40 and Interstate 70. According to Bolm, the venue’s location and nearby highway infrastructure also contributed to Tough Mudder choosing the location for its 2018 event.

“Our location is about 50 miles away from Lambert Airport for anybody who wants to fly in, and we’ve got parking for 1,300 to 1,500 people,” Bolm said.

The Tough Mudder Missouri Weekend will consist of three different events. The regular Tough Mudder is 10 miles long with 20-plus obstacles, the Tough Mudder Half contains 5 miles and 10-plus obstacles and the Tougher Mudder features 10 miles and a competitive race wave. Event participants receive free action photos, a T-shirt, headband and celebratory beer upon course completion.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at ToughMudder.com.

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