By Joanna Bastian
It is time once again for the Pacific Northwest’s most distinguished winter event: the Conconully Outhouse Races. Athletes representing Carlton’s finest have laid plans for a stunning comeback in 2016.
If pushing outhouses and crafting witty puns are your forte, the Carlton team wants you! Meet at the Carlton Store this Saturday (Jan. 16) at 6:30 a.m. to carpool with the rest of the team. Team members need to be in Conconully by 9 a.m. to set up and register. Dress warmly, and be sure to bring gloves.
The Conconully Outhouse Races have been an Okanogan County tradition spanning a quarter of a century. Voting for the people’s choice outhouse and costumes begins at 11 a.m., and races start at high noon.
Teams build 5-feet tall, three-walled outhouses, outfitted with a toilet seat and toilet paper, and mounted on skis. Teams then break up into threes: two pushers and a sitter, and barrel down the center of snowy Main Street. Extra points are awarded for creative team names and outlandishly decorated outhouses.
Each team participates in as many different race divisions as they choose. There are nearly a dozen categories, including children’s, teens, seniors, an obstacle course, and some weird ones that can only be thought up by snowbound hooligans on long winter nights, like the bucket race.
Scott and Kelli Kenney built the frame of this year’s outhouse, and the creative design is a work in progress. Flames may be a part of the design, judging by a shout-out for a fiery artist blazed across social media outlets this last weekend.
Last year, the team name was “Carlton Hole,” pun intended. This year the team name, “Level 2 Evacuation,” was imagined by the Carlton Store’s finest muse, Leanna Mortland. “Level 2 Evacuation” won the popularity vote by a landslide.
Store owner Jeff Lyman is hoping for a good turnout from the Methow Valley. “Last year was the start of a tradition — going out there, having a good time,” he said. “It’s not about winning or losing, it is so much fun.”
Participants and observers are all encouraged to come along and join the fun this Saturday in Conconully.
Last year, video journalist Steven Foreman was on hand to capture the Carlton Hole team in action. The short documentary is the perfect dose of enthusiasm to pump up the crowd for this coming weekend. The video, entitled Conconully Outhouse Races, can be found on YouTube.
Event details can be found under the events tab at www.conconully.com, and on the Facebook events page, 2016 Conconully Outhouse Races.