Good days for bidets in Virginia City |

Good days for bidets in Virginia City

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer

Most of the competitors at this weekend’s outhouse races in Virginia City participate strictly for bragging rights, but not Jessica Owens.

For her, it’s a grade.

Jessica, along with 12 classmates, will be competing with the outhouse they designed and built. It was the project for Ric Schrank’s fifth-period industrial problemsolving class at Virginia City High School.

“It was a lot of fun. When I signed up, I didn’t know what our project would be, so I was surprised,” Owens said.

The class has been working on their design – named Layla after a black Labrador owned by Owens’ friend – for about a month. They based it around the materials they had on hand and the requirements established for the event.

“We used plywood for the frame, and the body is a go-kart from a previous project,” she said. “It’s kind of an upright rectangle that juts out at the windshield.”

The entry from the high school is its first since the inaugural race in 1993. The school decided to participate again at the request of the chamber of commerce. The outhouse is being sponsored by the Bucket of Blood Saloon.

The project allowed the class to develop skills and broaden their knowledge in areas like design, construction and welding.

“We all learned teamwork, and I personally learned how to use a jigsaw,” Owens said. “It was so cool. You can’t go fast because you have to stay on the line, but it’s such a feeling of power.”

The Outhouse Races begin on Saturday with a parade down C Street at noon. The double elimination tournament will run throughout the day with the final heats scheduled for noon Sunday. An awards ceremony will be 2 p.m. Sunday following the championship run.

“It’s organized mayhem. There are a lot of people running around doing a lot of things at the same time, just having a really great time,” said Bryan Staples, event co-chairman.

There are 10 confirmed entries, including three from California and teams are welcome to enter outhouses right up race time. The cost to enter an outhouse is $100.

The waste receptacles will race from the Bucket of Blood Saloon to the Delta Saloon parking lot on C Street. The pit area will be in the Bucket of Blood parking lot and will include vendors selling food items and souvenirs.

The perennial favorite is the Urinator, which has flushed the competition the last four years.

Yet even that record doesn’t scare Schrank or his high school team.

“I have some conditioned athletes pushing and a driver who weighs maybe 100 pounds, so I like our chances,” he said.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.

If you go

What: Outhouse races

When: Parade begins at noon

Saturday, races at 1 p.m. Semifinals and championship races begin at noon Sunday

Where: C Street in Virginia City; staging area is the Bucket of Blood parking lot

information: Call Bryan Staples at 742-4086 or go online at