About the Colony

Making 'mudhole' a force for good

Special to The TribuneMarch 24, 2014 

Now is the perfect time for Atascadero to take advantage of its heritage and put the word “Mudhole” on the map, at least here on the Central Coast. The city has spent a considerable among of money for a professional firm to come up with “Atascadero — The Heart of the Central Coast.”

But we don’t need to hire a public relations firm to make us famous. I’m jumping on the bandwagon with former Councilman Jerry Clay, who wants to see some kind of activities at the lake this Fourth of July.

It is time for us to take advantage of the former lake that is now an oversized mudhole. Atascadero is, of course, a Spanish word meaning “mudhole.”

With not much rain expected at least until next fall, and a smart decision on the part of the water company not to pump it full, that mudhole will continue to become ever more inviting.

In the past the Atascadero Colony Days Committee held the “Mudhole Follies.”

Everyone loves competition, whether for best singer on “The Voice,” dancers on “Dancing with the Stars” or even the real Olympics, which ended last month in Russia. So why not stage the “Mudhole Games” right here in Atascadero?

We could aim for the games to culminate on the Fourth of July when Atascaderans would line the perimeter of the lakebed and cheer on competitors in such events as:

  • The adult four-wheel-drive truck mud slalom around the island;
  • Mud castle construction;
  • Slinging mud (for politicians, of course);
  • This wouldn’t be a contest, but only an “event” where, as the hot July sun heated the water and mud, women could get a genuine mud bath as only nature could provide; Small children could play in the same muddy area and not run away, because they couldn’t;
  • AND we could allow fireworks on the dry lakebed.

For real, cowboy star Hoot Gibson did make a movie here in 1927 based on the wonders of the special mud found in the lake. The scenario called for Hoot to have blotches on his face from poison oak and only the “medicinal clay” could heal him, which it did by the movie’s end.

According to the newspaper, the mud was a little sun-baked, and the film crew had to add water to make it more pliable on Hoot’s face.

The cowboy star even judged a beauty contest at the lake with the three top winners being Evelyn McFaul of San Miguel, Fern Walker of Paso Robles and Opal Croxley of Atascadero.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades, and his column is published weekly. Reach him at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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