The blue and white gets down and dirty

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The Spectrum

Combine 200,000 gallons of water from Lake LaSalle, a dirt-filled field and 128 teams of volleyball players, and the muddy mayhem of Oozfest is created.

Run by the University Student Alumni Board and the Office of Alumni Relations, Oozfest is one of the University at Buffalo's favorite traditions.

Oozfest is one of the biggest mud-volleyball tournaments in North America. Celebrating its 26th anniversary, this year's Oozfest was appropriately named, "Just Ooze It!"

The event took place on 16 volleyball courts near South Lake Village, where games ran nonstop from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Alyce Schaefer, a junior biology major, and Bobby Dobmeier, a sophomore business management major, played on the Spike Nasties team.

"It's an amazing opportunity for a great time with great people," Dobmeier said. "It was my goal to get as muddy as possible, which I guess I accomplished."

With regard to the mud, some students like Lisa Snow, a senior psychology and health and human services major, made light of being covered from head to toe.

"I wanted to exfoliate my skin and I thought this was the best way to do it," Snow said. "I think it's working. Its hardening on me as I speak."

Scott Saxer, a graduate assistant in the Office of Alumni Relations, organized the event and was excited with the level of participation.

"I'd say 128 [volleyball] teams is pretty good," Saxer said. "We maxed out the brackets. It's great."

Saxer noted that the event was not contained only to the volleyball fields; WRUB Radio was on hand, providing music for the event. The football team and cheerleaders also stopped by and there were a host of giveaways, from Bill Maher tickets to Buffalo Bills memorabilia.

The most popular addition, however, was located near Alumni Arena.

"There were a bunch of hot showers by Alumni," Saxer said. "People seemed to be pretty excited about that."

For those who didn't want to trudge all the way to Alumni, the Getzville fire department was on hand with a fire truck to hose off the Oozfest participants.

Ron Dinderski, a firefighter from Getzville, was volunteering at his first Oozfest this year.

"We were here last night for two hours and an hour this morning, watering the mud pit," Dinderski said. "And we've had a constant line for the hose since early this morning."

Saxer stated that each of the 128 teams had a minimum of six and a maximum of eight players and were composed of undergraduates, graduate students, members of the larger Buffalo community and UB alumni, some from as far away as California.

Gagee Tharma, a senior finance and human resources major from Sri Lanka, refereed during Oozfest and noted the unique experience this event provided participants.

"We wanted to have a UB Alternative Spring Break team, but we found out we couldn't play because it was full, so we decided to volunteer," Tharma said. "I refereed volleyball back in my country, but it's more fun out here."

Saxer noted that two of the teams have especially become legends at Oozfest.

"The two longest running teams are the Poached Trout in a White Wine Sauce, who have participated for 21 years, and The Sheepherders, who have been around for 17 years," Saxer said.

The mud, the prizes and contests for Best Costume and Longest Running Team gave participants the opportunity to relax and have fun before the busy weeks ahead. Best Costume went to Justice League of America and Longest Running Team went to team of alumni Poached Trout in White Wine Sauce.

"It's a great way to blow off steam before finals," Saxer said. "It's one last hurrah for a lot of graduating seniors [and] it brings back teams from across the country [and allows alumni] to get to see each other again."

Sean Kenney, a senior accounting major, agrees with Saxer.

"I wanted to get the full UB experience before I graduated," Kenney said. "I've never done this before. It's a great way to end my senior year."

Awards for first, second, and third place teams were recognized at the events conclusion. The team Don't MUDDLE in our Business came in first, followed by District Five and Santa Clause is Coming to Town in second and third places, respectively.

Next year's Oozfest will be held on April 30. For more information, see Oozfest's page on Facebook and alumni.buffalo.edu/students.

E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com