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Barber Beast on the Bay Returns for 2021

Beast on the Bay 2018 814 RESIZED

What’s back, big and badder than ever? Barber Beast on the Bay, the obstacle course challenge set for Saturday, Sept. 11 at Presque Isle State Park in Erie, PA.

The event is unique among mudder competitions with a ten-mile course that includes sand, water, trails and roadway.  Thirty natural and manmade obstacles are spaced throughout the course that involve crawling, climbing, pushing, pulling and a few surprise activities. Six new obstacles introduced in 2019, which feature twisted monkey bars, swaying rebar walls and climbing ropes, will be back and updated for 2021.

“The event really gives participants an opportunity to experience Presque Isle like never before,” said Laura Schaaf, event director at the Barber National Institute. 

The Beast also includes a one-mile event for persons with intellectual and physical disabilities.  The course is spread out through Waldameer Park and Water World and integrates 15 obstacles that can be adapted for all capability levels.

Another unique feature of the Beast is the coming together for a shared finish line for participants in both the 10-mile and adapted courses.

“This is one of the things that is so special about our event, and something that participants say is especially gratifying about our finish,” said Schaaf.  “It really speaks to how everyone is striving to overcome obstacles and enables us to celebrate all of those achievements together.”

All proceeds from the event benefit the mission of the Barber National Institute to serve more than 6,200 children and adults with autism, intellectual disabilities or behavioral health challenges and their families every year. Funds support a wide range of educational, residential, job training, recreational and therapeutic services.

The event, which typically attracts more than 1,000 participants from across the United States and Canada, was sidelined in 2020 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Participants will receive a medal and shirt that integrate the Beast event with the 100th anniversary of Presque Isle State Park that is being marked in 2021. “Our medals are always a unique and very popular memento of participating in this event. We think that this year’s medal will be especially meaningful,” said Schaaf.

More information and online registration is available at