Van Ausdoll’s 5-month-old dog Kovu also ran with the boys through the many obstacles.
  Kaylee Van Hauwaert of Marshall slides down a steep mud hill.Jeremy Fennell of Ghent emerges after crawling under the tarp-covered mud pit. Justin Clark of Marshall looks like a turtle peeking above the water as he crawls across a pit.

Four-legged mudder steals the show

The star of the Lions Mud Run on Saturday in Ghent had an advantage over the other competitors; he had four legs. Kovu, a 5-month-old black lab, completed the grueling Mud Run course with his owner Joseph Van Ausdoll of Kansas City, MO; and friends Antonio Monetti of Fort Riley, KS; and Marshall native Cameron Duthoy of Broomfield, CO. Duthoy was born in Marshall, but moved around frequently and also attended school in Willmar before moving to Florida and then to Missouri.

“I graduated in Warrensburg (MO) with Joseph and Antonio,” explained Duthoy, who now works at an airport terminal for private jets in Colorado.

Duthoy ended up in Colorado by accident. “I was living in Missouri and traveling to visit some relatives in Colorado when my '77 Chevy Nova broke down,” he laughed.

“That was a year and a half ago and I've been living there ever since.” Duthoy returned to Ghent this past weekend to visit his father John Duthoy and his grandmother Mary Ann Duthoy and invited Van Ausdoll and Monetti to join him.

“This is the third time Joseph has been to Minnesota and he loves it here,” said Duthoy. “This was Antonio's first time he's ever been to Minnesota.”

Duthoy has participated in the Mud Run a few times before and asked his friends to join him this year. “They were really excited to do it,” Duthoy said.

“We had so much fun.” Van Ausdoll decided to take Kovu along for the run, which features over a dozen different obstacles that include a balancing, climbing, crawling, sliding and more.

“(Kovu) went through every obstacle except the climbing wall at the end,” said Duthoy.

“We bucket-brigaded the dog up and over the hay bales. And (Kovu) ran under Joseph when he did the zip line.”

“We all took responsibility for the dog through the course. He just seemed to have such a good time running with all of us.”

Joseph and Kovu drove back to their home in Missouri, a 500-mile trip, on Sunday; Antonio flew back to Kansas on Monday morning, and Cameron left Ghent to return to Colorado on Tuesday. Because of his dark coat, Kovu, who was named for a character in Lion King II, completed the run the same color as he started.

“We all cleaned off in the (outdoor) shower at the end,” said Duthoy.

“We held Kovu up and showered him off, too.” Last year's star of the show was Rykar Crowley, the 4-year-old son of Andy and Lori Crowley of Ghent.

Rykar ran the course with ease. And while the other competitors were catching their breath at the completion of the run, little Rykar was asking his mother if they could go again.

But this year, it was an exuberant four-legged canine that stole the show.

Left to right, Antonio Monetti, Joseph Van Ausdoll and Cameron Duthoy, best friends in high school in Missouri, participated together in the Mud Run on Saturday. Van Ausdoll’s 5-month-old dog Kovu also ran with the boys through the many obstacles. Staff photo by Scott Thoma.

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