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What's the Point?

Okay, so we know how I’ll benefit from this endeavor. I’ll gain experience in the great outdoors that will help me write a better book set in the Adirondacks. But you, my dear reader, may well be asking, “What’s in all this for me?” Hopefully you’ll gain a little knowledge, have a few laughs, and vicariously enjoy a sense of adventure. Think of it as a modern-day Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, where you get to sit comfortably at your computer screen – much like Marlin Perkins watching from a safe distance behind some bushes. I, on the other hand, will go out into the wild, ala Jim Fowler, and do all the heavy lifting in an effort to entertain you.

            Well, on second thought…

Entries in Outhouse Races (1)


We're Number One - or Number Two

I may have mentioned in earlier posts that one of my concerns about being in nature is what to do when nature calls. So when I heard about the Outhouse Races at the Lake George Winter Carnival – an outdoor activity that featured (albeit primitive) bathroom facilities – it seemed like the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Although I could imagine a situation in which one might need to race to an outhouse, for some reason it had never crossed my mind that people would want to race with an outhouse. Nine teams vied for the championship on the frozen waters of Lake George on February 5th, the opening day of the Carnival’s 50th anniversary celebration. One group – Adirondack Images – had four separate entries, so they must have really wanted to win it. It wasn’t clear what the winner won, other than bragging rights,[1] I can only assume Adirondack Images thought Outhouse Race Champion would be a real boon to their aerial photography business.

The outhouses came in all shapes, sizes and materials. Some were built specifically to be lightweight and aerodynamic; others went with a theme, with racers dressed to match. The pre-race scene looked like the starting line of The Wacky Races, and I half-expected Penelope Pitstop, Professor Pat Pending and Dick Dastardly to show up.


The races began with a moment of silence for The Office – an outhouse that was retired this year after many seasons of reliable service.

I’m not sure how an outhouse is retired, but it was replaced with a newer, fresher Office. The outhouses were paired off in heats, each outhouse pushed and/or pulled by four people.[2] The only other rule appeared to be that the outhouse had to be, uhm, occupied.

My sentimental pick was the outhouse sponsored by Sans Souci, a bar/restaurant in Cleverdale, NY, which was frequented often by my husband and me during our early courtship. Like our marriage, the Sans Souci entry seemed steady, durable, and utterly lacking in excitement and drama. However, unlike my marriage, this particular outhouse did not turn out to be a winner.

The crowd favorite was the Leaky Tiki, whose Polynesian themed privy came complete with grass skirt-attired racers and an Easter Island head covering the door to the head. My kids were also rooting for “The Batmobile,” which was more like a sled than an outhouse, as well as “No Fear” – the only out-of-state entry – from Dalton, MA.

The sizeable crowd was flushed with excitement (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and cheered loudly for heat after heat. The race was not without its dangers as the racers scrambled to keep their footing on the snow-covered ice. More than one racer and outhouse went down, but fortunately the only thing hurt was some pride. During one race, an outhouse fell over[3] and the racers walked away without finishing the heat, causing some in the crowd to accuse them of crapping out (see, I’m not the only one who couldn’t resist).

In the end, it came down to “No Fear” and “The Batmobile,” with “The Batmobile” taking home the title.




[1] Suggestion to race organizers: perhaps you could add to the prestige of future races by awarding the coveted Toilet Bowl.

[2] Although from my observations, most were additionally fueled by Bud Light.

[3] I can’t remember if it was the new and improved “The Office” or “The Loading Zone.”


I don't know about you, but personally I require a little more privacy