Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nemo 500 Outhouse Races

This weekend we attended our first Nemo 500 Outhouse Race. Usually the event is held out in Nemo but over the last couple years it had outgrown it's venue and this year was moved to the Day's of '76 Museum and Rodeo grounds right here in Deadwood.

Since we moved here we'd heard a lot about what these outhouse races entailed but until today we had no idea of how much fun it could really be. There were events planned all day long. There were two auctions, a few raffles, a chili and rib cook-off, live music, drinks and food and of course the outhouse races.

Josh enjoying the ribs 2.12
We arrived around noon and immediately set upon the chili and rib cook-off. I tried every chili I could and was surprised and inspired by the variety. A couple had quite a kick and one in particular was almost sweet and had pineapple chunks. I voted for the one with the best kick. Josh set upon the ribs. There weren't too many choices but he tried a few and was impressed (which isn't easy to do). After placing his vote we decided that next year we would definitely want to be competitors. I know we can make a darn good chili and I have no doubt that with his southern blood his ribs would be top-notch.

The crew of "The Wizzer" 2.12
After eating our share of food we made our way to the 'outhouse' area. There were roughly 14 teams competing and each had their outhouse on display. We were blown away by the creativeness of the designs. Each team was dressed thematically to match their outhouse. It's amazing how many puns and witty jokes about poop we heard. People are so creative.

Competing Outhouse 2.12
Of all the teams our favorite was 'The Wizzer of Oz". Their team members were dressed as the main characters from the Wizard of Oz and there must have been 40 people in their entourage. That is, 40 people dressed up as citizens of Oz. The Wicked Witch was there and so was the Witch of the East. They even had a 6-8 piece band that struck up "We're off to see the Wizard" every now and again. It was a fabulous display.

After touring the museum and checking out the silent auction we watched the live auction in anticipation for the races. I mentioned to Josh that I was surprised that they weren't taking bets on the various outhouse teams and about 10 minutes later the biding started up. I love Deadwood.

The Litter Box, 2.12
The official start of the outhouse races was at 1:45. Each team was to pull or push their outhouse on a track that looped around the football stadium at the '76 Rodeo Grounds. Most teams had at least 4 people. Three to push and one to ride inside (this was an official rule). About 3/4 into the loop the team members had to do a fire drill of sorts and run around the outhouse while stacking colored toilet paper onto plungers stuck to the ground. It was incredibly silly.

Along with a few hundred people we watched and cheered. One competitor lost his shoe halfway through the track and just kept on going. A few were bogged down by the slushy track and had to walk part of the way. The 'Wizzer of Oz' definitely stole the show (they did have a live band!). They ended up winning the entire event!

After watching all of our favorite outhouses race we decided to call it a day. It had been a long time since we had laughed to hard and had such a great time in Deadwood. And now the countdown is on for next year. Hopefully we'll have an outhouse to race and be in the chili & rib cook-off!

The Black Hills Pioneer wrote an article about the Nemo 500 which can be read here.

This is a short video of the Outhouses that we watched. They are each doing their fire drill so it's funny to watch. And make sure to listen for the band!