Labor Day Festivities
All you NASCAR fans may think of Daytona and a number of other cities as great race towns. If you think of Nome, Alaska at all (where I live), you're a dog sledding fan that follows the Iditarod.
But bathtub racing fans know that Nome is the real race mecca. Though they won't be sipping glasses of milk or mint juleps at the finish line, Nome's Great Bathtub Race will be held again on Labor Day, making it the 29th straight clean race for the tub.
Basically, teams are made up of five members, four of whom push a bathtub (and the fifth member) on wheels about 100 yards down Nome's main street to the finish. The rules for The Great Bathtub Race are simple (though not so serious) in some respects, but all wet in others:
1--All entrants must be 18 years of age or older or have a signed parental release.
2--Each team entering The Great Bathtub Race must have five members (no more, no less). Four members must wear larger brimmed hats and have appropriately displayed suspenders. The standard bathtub can be no smaller than four feet long and two and one-half feet wide and use wheels no bigger than 30 inches in diameter, mounted on axles no more than 44 inches wide.
3--One member will have to carry one large bar of soap, one must carry a wash cloth, one must carry a bath towel, and one a very definitive bath mat. Soap bubbles must be very apparent in the bathwater, if not overflowing the tub.
4--One member of the five-member team must be situated in the bathtub, with the appearance of taking a bath from the start of the race all the way through to the official finish of the race.
5--The bathtub must be full of water for the official start of the race and have no less than ten gallons of water left in the tub at the finish line for the judge to examine. Violation of this rule will constitute a lifetime ban from taking a bath on Front Street anytime.
6--The race will start in front of the new Federal Building (U.S. Post Office) and proceed west on Front Street to the finish line in front of City Hall (Old Iditarod Finish Line). The race will start at High Noon and the first qualifying team to all cross the finish line will be the winner.
7--All teams will draw for starting positions no later than five minutes before the start of The Great Bathtub Race--High Noon, Labor Day, every year in Nome, Alaska, U.S.A. All positions--1,2,3, etc., will line up at the starting line from the north side of the street.
8--No mechanical or motorized device may provide any propulsion for the movement of the bathtub from start to finish. All power to move the bathtub from start to finish must be provided by the four members of the team not in the bathtub (team power). No assistance from any other source other than the team will be permitted. Violation of this rule will constitute loss of rights to be given the Mayors Official Recognition Award--ever.
9--The team is composed of one Captain who must ride in the bathtub, a Bath Soap Guard, a Bath Towel Guard, a Bath Mat Guard, and a Wash Cloth Guard. All must make it very apparent of the Official Duties they are performing for their team in The Great Bathtub Race.
10--Entry fee of $20.00 is required and to be paid before entering The Great Bathtub Race. The fee must be paid to any of the co-chairmen no less than five minutes before the start of the race. Failure to do so will officially disqualify the team from entering the permanent records, which are most always never kept anyhow.
11--Prizes for the winning team include recognition of their efforts on a Perpetual Trophy and each member of the winning team receives a trophy for their personal efforts in making their team most notable. However, there is little that can be done to clean up the characters of such individuals who have degraded themselves to participate, by making a splash in Nome or by making light of some poor sodden soul while on Front Street.
These flexible rules result in a wide variety of tubs, rigs, outfits, and race strategies. The victor may not always be the lightest, swiftest, or cleanest.
Re: Labor Day Festivities
And if the Great Bathtub Race isn't exciting enough, just west of town, spectators will be watching as thousands of plastic ducks arrive on the river, having negotiated miles of twists and turns in the annual Snake River Duck Race. People cheer the ducks on, hoping that the duck that they have purchased a raffle ticket for wins the race.