Outhouse racers never run out of humor
Appeal Staff Writer
It started off as a potty protest.
And now, organizers say it’s a “potty party.”
Puns of the porcelain pundits were poetic if not prosaic and surely prolific in Virginia City on Saturday as the 17th annual World Championship Outhouse Races and parade made a splash (or a slosh) in the historic mining town.
“Ours has anti-lock brakes,” said Reno’s Marty Mattson of “Oshiri,” a Japanese-themed commode. “So it doesn’t leave skid marks.”
Indeed, it was that kind of day, where tomfoolery and double entendre were served up by each of the eight outhouse teams – with almost as much vigor as the effort they’d put into the movable outhouses themselves.
“This is our sixth year,” said Jay Reno, representing the Ole Tyme Saloon from Reno. “We just fix ’em up a little every year, and we let ’em go.”
Reno was one of the pushers for one of the saloon’s two entries, “The Urinator.”
“My advice?” Reno said. “Is keep in time with the other pusher. And don’t run with a hangover.”
Diane Berry, who claimed she was “helping” with the saloon’s other entry, “The Classic,” said she participates every year because the event has “no socially redeeming value whatsoever, and I mean that in the best way possible.”
Newcomers of the “Oshiri” team finished first in their initial heat Saturday. The pagoda-style outhouse, pushed by Cary Yamamoto of Reno, are a corps of Northern Nevada Taiko Drummers.
“We thought we shouldn’t bring our drums this year, our first,” Yamamoto said. “But I think we’ve seen pretty clearly – anything goes.”
Indeed, co-organizer Milly Batchelor, a Sparks resident, said the origins of the event can be traced to the fall of 1990 when Storey County wanted to ban outhouses.
“People put their outhouses on wheels and brought them to the county offices,” she said. “Now, surprise. It’s an annual event.
“Virginia City has become a place where tradition isn’t forgotten. Whether it’s something fun – like today, or more serious occasions, like Veteran’s Day. We’re the town that’s not going to let tradition die, and I think people can appreciate that.”
While more than 1,000 revelers comprised of mostly locals who clogged the town’s main artery would tend to agree, some were passionate about the races – after having only seen one.
“Are you kidding me, this is great,” said Brent Lane, a Bakersfield, Calif., resident, who was vacationing with his wife, Julie in South Lake Tahoe. “We just came down here to check it out. We didn’t know it was going to be like this. What a great idea.
“Reminds me a little of what we have in Bakersfield.”
The outhouse races continue today at noon as the finalists will race toward the title.
But for many, just being there is victory.
“It’s not whether you win or lose,” said Mattson. “It’s whether you leave your mark.”
• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
If you go
What: World Championship Outhouse Races
When: Event starts at noon. Races every half-hour starting at 1 p.m., until finished.
Where: Downtown Virginia City, C Street.