Saturday, Aug. 28, 11 a.m. It is the last day of the Union Fair, and the first annual Mud Run. The field is plenty muddy, and the vehicles are lined up along the track while participants register.

I have attended the fair five different times to cover a variety of events in the past week. I am tired.

I arrive early to get the lay of the land. I ask the folks organizing the mud run where I should be; they tell me they set up trailers for the public.

I walk down the field and choose a trailer that seems like it will have a good view. It is pretty high up, so the climb is a struggle. I sit down at a table, and start writing notes and taking test pictures.

Before I am too comfortable, one of the people from a neighboring trailer makes her way over. Apparently, this trailer is not one that is open to the public.

I apologize and climb down.

I wander around the field a bit more, embarrassed and unsure where to go. I need to take pictures of the mud run, hopefully without the crowd blocking my view.

I briefly consider asking the event organizers if there is somewhere away from the crowd with a good view. I think about asking the announcer if I can take up some space on the back of his truck, but he was already far beyond where spectators were allowed.

Finally, I notice Charlie and Penny Crockett setting up their video camera on a trailer.

I march up to the trailer and get their attention. I hold up my press pass.

“Excuse me,” I say, “Do you have room for another member of the media?”

The Crocketts are a local institution.

They used to teach and coach at Camden-Rockport High School. After retiring, they moved on to video production.

They have been broadcasting local events and news for as long as I can remember. I still have the video tape from 2003 when I competed for Sea Goddess at the lobster festival. The video was, of course, shot and compiled by the Crocketts.

They say yes, of course they have room for me. Charlie helps me climb up. I have an unobstructed view of the track.

I thank them and introduce myself. I tell them about the Sea Goddess tape. They are pleased.

Charlie tells me they have a backlog of many tapes of older events they wanted to digitize. That process takes time and money, though.

Penny asks me to take a picture of them with her cell phone.

We chat about the advantages of being local. Charlie tells me he thinks it gives newspaper workers an edge. We have established relationships and history with people and the area. We have connections and networks to call upon for information.

I leave around 2 p.m. after exchanging business cards with Charlie and Penny.

When I started working at The Courier-Gazette, one of the things my boss liked was that I was local.

Now we play a game. Six degrees of separation from Simmonds.

If I dig deep enough, I have a connection with most stories that happen in The Courier-Gazette coverage zone.

One of the people running for City Council in Rockland was my elementary school boyfriend.

I graduated from high school with the Thomaston Town Manager.

I used to babysit for the Rockland City Manager.

These are the perks of being local.

A mega truck competes in the first annual mud run at the Union Fair, Aug. 28. Photo by Christine Simmonds