Mudbowl Championships - North Conway, New Hampshire

Since 1972, North Conway, NH has been flooding a field to contest three days of knee-deep touch football . Teams from all over North Conway come to play. So do teams from all over other parts of New England. This is no backyard football.  It's serious.  Both contestants and spectators can tell you so.  

The festivities kick off on Saturday with a themed parade. This year was MudAmerican Band Stand. The parade winds through the little town, slowly creeping past the historic train station while making its way to the Mud Bowl Coliseum. The local postman (pictured above), participates every year by performing synchronized mud swimming and then parading through the town trying to give people hugs.

Mud Bowl football pretty much follows all the rules of regular football, except the games are shorter and you double pass the football forward during a play. This championship was complete with referees, coaches, cheerleaders, fan clubs, and yes, sponsorship from a beer company. Despite the games being very serious, the teams were very friendly with each other. I saw lots of slaps on the butt. 

The Hogs, the hometown team I was rooting for, were the first team to play on Saturday. Defending quite a history of championships, the pressure was on to perform well this year. I primarily photographed them through the first day. On Sunday, however, the Hogs made it all the way to the semi-finals but lost despite a good fight.