Sunday, February 28, 2016

And it wasn't even on the bucket list

Can I say my life is complete now? I have been to the Outhouse Races in Trenary, Michigan.

To be honest, they didn't quite measure up to expectations. I would have sworn that when we saw news reports in previous years, there was a whole lot more creativity in outhouse construction. I was not particularly impressed with the structures sliding down the track this year. I have a vague memory that when they first started doing this, the outhouses actually looked like outhouses, more or less. You know, there was the basic structure with an actual bench or a toilet seat in it and they were relatively sturdily constructed.

Not anymore. It's been distilled down to not exactly essence of outhouse -- that would probably be just a bench or a seat -- but more like a hint of an outhouse. People construct structures that are about the appropriate square footage for a traditional privy, but that's basically where the resemblance ends. The outhouses are flimsy boxes on skis that have just enough of a framework to tack posterboard to that bears the name of whatever business or team is sponsoring them. There were a couple minor exceptions, like the Dapper Crapper (it had a mustache) but overall? Definitely a disappointment.

Not that crowd that had gathered seemed to mind. It was a pleasant February day, the beer tent and a couple local taverns were doing a booming business, the local volunteer fire department was selling lots of burgers and brats, and people in general were having a good time. Fashion trends were interesting -- there seemed to be a lot of people walking around with dead animals on their heads. Given that it was about 50 degrees out and the sun was shining, why anyone would want to put dead skunks on his head baffled me, but who knows? Maybe this fellow thought a blizzard would roll in before evening. (The diagonal line in the photo is a cable supporting a utility pole.) I had been wondering if the mild weather would be an issue, but the organizers had put down a pretty thick layer of snow on the street. The block-long track was a little slushy, but more than deep enough to keep an outhouse moving.

The S.O. and I did a little muttering (as did other members of the crowd) about the fact the races did not start on time. Start time was advertised as 2 p.m.; it was actually more like 2:30 before the first outhouse came down the line. In retrospect, I realize this was genius on the part of the organizers. There weren't actually many outhouses in the race so once it was over, most of the crowd would disperse pretty quickly. Delay the start a bit, and it gave people enough time to go get a refill on the beer or decide they really wanted a bratwurst after all. The Outhouse Races are, after all, a major fundraiser for the local fire department and the community of Trenary, a town that's barely two blocks long and if not quite in the middle of nowhere is close to it.


  1. You would think they need to be USABLE outhouses to qualify, but it's a fundraiser after all.

  2. Maybe they make them flimsy to keep them as light all possible.

  3. I don't know how we parted company,but I'm back and glad you are still here. look forward to catching up on your posts.

  4. Pretty poor outhouse construction, doesn't look like much effort was put into the parade.
    the Ol'Buzzard


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