Slip on your cleats and grab your plunger - the 9th annual Fishing Highway 24 Outhouse Races are back Sunday, Feb. 19.
Organizer Irene Meili, chair of the Fishing Highway Tourist Association, said she is looking forward to another successful event. Races start at 11 a.m. at the Iron Horse Pub but Meili urges competitors to come early and fuel up on the breakfast buffet being served at 10 a.m.
‘It’s fun because it’s so local. Most people know each other, it’s not a huge event where you have people from all over the country,” she said. “You see your crew from the Interlakes Market, they’re going to have an outhouse or you’ll see the people from the Free Press - so you know them from your weekly newspaper but you haven’t seen them run around. That’s what makes it special.”
Wayne Bergh entered the races for first time in 2020 - the last time it was held. He said they showed up early for breakfast, and he had never seen the pub so busy.
“The Iron Horse parking lot was full and they were parked down Highway 24. Cars were parked everywhere there were so many people there,” he laughed.
Meili is hopeful they have a lot of entries as it is more fun that way. Rona will have an outhouse on-site for anyone who decides at the last moment they want to give it a try.
She warns, however, that there is a science behind outhouse racing. “Sometimes it is not always about speed. Sometimes it is about brains or how to maneuver the outhouse.”
There’s an ongoing discussion between outhouse builders as to whether alpine or cross-country skis work best. Cross-country skis are narrower, which gives better speed but when it comes to maneuverability, alpine skis win out.
Other things to consider are how high should your outhouse be above ground, where to locate the push bars, and if you should push or pull.
Bergh, whose outhouse won the best design category last time, said the biggest challenge for his team was turning.
“We seemed to want to tip a lot - went up on one ski. The person inside was hanging on pretty good,” he said, adding they have made some adjustments for this year.
He recommends having your skis wide apart saying that theirs were definitely too close together.
One thing everyone also needs is a good set of cleats, he said, noting he was surprised at how slippery it was. His team had slip-on rubberized shoes and when they were running they were constantly flying off.
“Almost a comedy of errors.”
In addition to the buffet breakfast, the Peter Skene Ogden Secondary grad class will be running a hot dog cart provided by the Iron Horse, selling hot dogs, chili and beverages. Highland 4H is tentatively scheduled to be on hand with baked goods for sale.
Categories for the event will include juniors (6-16 years), women, men, and co-ed teams that will be included in the men’s category. A prize is awarded for each category plus one for the most beautiful outhouse.
Meili said they are experiencing some issues with the forms on the website and ask entrants to email registration information directly to email@example.com.
The entry fee is $10 if registering in advance and can be paid via e-transer to firstname.lastname@example.org. If registering on race day, the entry fee is $15 and must be paid in cash before 10 a.m.
Outhouse building requirements and race rules can be found on the website.