People casually passing through Lone Butte on Feb. 16 may have been wondering what could possibly be going on. Not only was the parking lot at the Iron Horse Pub fully loaded, but parked vehicles also spilled onto both shoulders of Highway 24 forcing drivers to slow down to a crawl.
Behind the pub, a crowd fully surrounded the baseball field as men and women, young and old, raced outhouse against outhouse through the snow. The outhouses had been specially prepared and mounted on skis so that they would elegantly slide through the snow or, at least, that was the intention.
Each race team consisted of an outhouse and three racers; two pushing with one in the outhouse. About a third of the way in one of the pushers would let go, grab a plunger and sit back down before the other two pushed off again. They’d go around a pilon and make their way back. At the same checkpoint on the way back, they would stop and pick up a toilet paper roll and switch the last racer into the outhouse. At the finish, the racers’ time stopped once the roll and plunger were in a bucket.
In reality, the whole affair was about as elegant as you might expect an outhouse race to be. Some racers didn’t fully manage to sit down before teammates pushed off which, in one instance, caused a racer to flop down on the bottom of the outhouse, feet sticking out all the way to the finish. In another instance, a photographer nearly got run over by an outhouse on account of poor visibility. Once or twice an outhouse nearly tipped over trying to corner.
“I would say it was a success. I was pretty nervous because I didn’t know how many were signed up. We didn’t know it was going to happen because we moved it to Lone Butte instead of Interlakes,” said Irene Meili, chair of the Fishing Highway 24 Tourism Association, which took over the event from the Interlakes Economic Association this year. “The Iron Horse did a fabulous job. They opened early and had the breakfast buffet … People were lining up.”
In total, 12 teams entered the adult class. Meili said there was supposed to be a men and women’s class but it all ended up being co-ed along with two junior teams.
Getting into the spirit of it all, they also added some new events, says Meili.
“We added some snow games like the ski race and the toilet paper toss and then some of the local groups here came and did horseshoes, but with toilet seats.”
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett announced that the Deuce Coupe was given the dubious honour of most beautiful outhouse.
The top three teams in the racing portion were; Margaritaville, Team Jayco and Pepperoni Predator.
Meili said one of the very cool aspects of the event was that people from outside of the Interlakes area, such as Lac la Hache and 100 Mile House were attracted to the event. She also added that when the association canvased for prizes, businesses around the South Cariboo were very happy to do so.
It was the first time the event was held in Lone Butte as the previous location had been dubbed “very cold all the time.”
She said they started preparing the ball fields for the event at the beginning of last week, which had three feet of snow. With only one snowmobile and a groomer attachment, they had no idea what to do.
However, the Green Lake Snowmobile Club showed up at the Iron Horse for lunch,
“We went out there and said, ‘can you just go over the field for us with your 15 snowmobiles,’ and they did. That’s what it’s about, just community.”