World Championship Outhouse Races: Parade of rolling potties excuse for rolling parties
October 7, 2012
Virginia City once again this weekend returned to those wondrous days of yesteryear, reminiscing over times when the outhouse out back was central to existence. It was time for the World Championship Outhouse Races, which were bolstered by a pre-race outhouse parade and a privy wine walk. Folks did it all in style as 22 rolling and decorated potties moved onto the town’s main drag for the noon parade, with races following Saturday afternoon and today. There was a best in show at the parade.“The Flapper Crapper wins hands down,” said John Tyson, master ceremonies for the commodious and ceremonious Saturday tomfoolery. A trio initially was declared tied for the honor, picked by a semi-arbitrary reading of crowd noise as the parade ended, but additional cheering determined The Mystery Latrine and The Urinator came up short.“We have more parades in this town,” Tyson boasted soon after, “than any place in the United States.”Tyson, longtime broadcaster and a Virginia City resident for three decades, said the races have been going on in his town since 1999.The rolling party to determine the most unique or fastest rolling pottie was well under way before the parade began in the place where Samuel Clemens became Mark Twain, the celebrated 19th century writer. You could almost hear him in your head Saturday if you were there, spinning one of his famous lines, like: “Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.”Before the pottie parade, for example, the festivities opened when a “Plungerette” supporting two entries sang “The Star Spangled Banner” in drop-dead fashion for a rapt and momentarily respectful audience.Her name is Kathy Lantz and she, along with compatriots wearing identical Plungerette T-shirts, soon led the potties up and down C Street as the parade crowd swelled because folks spilled out of bars and stores.A plungerette, inquiring minds learned, is a devoted follower of entries called The Classic Crapper and The Urinator. Those entries, fashioned by Ole Tyme Saloon patrons and owners, have won previous races.“We’ve been racing since ’01,” said Joe Rooney, co-owner of the Reno saloon along with his wife, Heather. He said Urinator won in 2004, Classic Crapper the past two years.The races, by the way, require three-person teams with one member sitting on the outhouse “throne” while two others propel the privy up C Street in the continuing competition. Rooney sported a T-shirt bearing the legend “Never Ending Potty” as he busied himself with last-minute preparations. Rooney’s cap identified him as a saloon “shareholder.”His spouse, naturally, wore a sky-blue plungerette shirt with matching blue be-spangled cap, as did all the plungerettes.Many of the race entries, including one or two with names that don’t belong in a family newspaper, made inventive attempts at double entendres or other scatalogical humor: The Royal Flush, The Pot Rod, Commando Commode and The Party Pooper.A couple was overheard in the crowd debating whether Pot Rod, The Haunted Outhouse or The Comstock Load tickled them most.Pot Rod bore a sign saying: “It’s not the destination, it’s the ride.” The Comstock Load team and supporters wore prison stripes as uniforms.The Haunted House, meanwhile, just pleased them because it is October and Halloween draws near.