Appeal staff writer
A corridor of onlookers crammed together as two outhouses rolled up C Street during the annual World Championship Virginia City Outhouse Races on Sunday. The masses scattered, however, when the brakeless boxes barreled into them.
"Get out of the way!" screamed Debbie Connally as her racing restroom rushed over the finish into the laughing crowd. With no steering wheel to hold onto, she white- knuckled her toilet seat, eyes bulging with fright. Her Ole Tyme Saloon's "Classic" finished well ahead of the competition in a blue Sanihut. It veered off the course 50 feet back and was swallowed in the crowd.
Fourteen teams registered for this year's competition, sponsored by the Virginia City and Gold Hill Chamber of Commerce. The race course runs up Main Street from the Bucket of Blood Saloon's parking lot to the Delta Saloon's parking lot.
"We get a lot of people who come back year after year," said Joe Rooney of the race committee. "They go home and do a little R and D (research and development) then come back and compete again. We've got a California machine this year."
Also coming from out of state was Eddy Talamante from Oregon City. He won Best of Show last year with his "Only In America" outhouse featuring Old Glory. This year, he did a chopper motorcycle-style outhouse with an extended front fork called "Iron House."
"This is a big biker town so we figured we'd try to earn some bonus points," Talamante said.
Standing by the aerodynamic, yellow "Urinator" was crew chief Bryan Staples. His theme - based on Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Terminator" movies - was timely this year, though his team thought of it last year.
"We were going to change it to 'Governator,' but we thought that might be too reverent," said team member Heather Elliott in a reference to the governor-elect of California.
Irreverence is a strong theme at the outhouse races.
The crew of the "Flaming Butthutt III" was lounging with beers before their race.
"I've been training for 12 months," said pusher Brett Olsen of Reno. "I like to do 12-ounce curls," he said with a smile, raising a can of Bud Light.
The races started with a gunshot from Thomas "Pinky" Filiatreau in Buffalo runner boots and Garcia spurs. He borrowed a 50-caliber, black-powder plains rifle from his pal Slowhand.
The cost to register an outhouse for the race is $75 for the first outhouse and $50 for each outhouse after that. All proceeds benefit the chamber of commerce.
Entries are required to weigh a minimum of 200 pounds, be 6 feet high, and have a 9-square-foot floor area.
"If it doesn't weigh 200 pounds, they give you a 50-pound bag of manure to ride along with," grinned Kevin Moore, who painted the "Flaming Butthutt III."