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Outhouse derby returns

September 22, 2016

 

Competitors raced non-motorized carts in the Choudrant Fire Department’s sixth annual race. – Photo by Colin Fontenot

Competitors raced non-motorized carts in the Choudrant Fire Department’s sixth annual race. – Photo by Colin Fontenot

Dillon Nelson
Staff Reporter | djn005@latech.edu

The Choudrant Fire Department held its sixth annual Grand National Outhouse Derby Races event Saturday.

Residents of The Village of Choudrant lined both sides of Bagwell Street to watch the teams race their non-motorized carts designed to resemble outhouses in a double elimination tournament.

Race announcer Jerry Whitman said he gets more excited for this race than any other local event.

“This event is unique because of the spectacle of the event,” Whitman said. “It’s a downhill outhouse race where the driver has to have their team give them the best push they can, and the crowd always gets more excited for it than any other event in Choudrant.”

Whitman said the enthusiasm is not exclusive to Choudrant residents. He said Jace Robertson of Duck Dynasty came to compete one year while local radio personality “Mountain Man” served as announcer in another year.

“We have gotten more and more coverage about this in a lot of different areas since Choudrant had its first race here about six or seven years ago,” Whitman said. “We were covered in a few big news outlets around the country, like the Associated Press.”

Aside from the novelty of the race itself, Whitman also praised the amount of skill and competitive spirit that goes into it. He said the people of Choudrant take the race as seriously as football.

“There are no university games going on today, and they are very careful to plan it so that as many people as possible are able to attend,” Whitman said. “We are one of the few places in the country to hold outhouse races, so we want to make sure it gets the attention it’s worthy of.”

Anji Bryan, 2015 champion and driver of Super Doodie, returned for her second year. Bryan said her family is composed of several mechanics, so working with machines has always been a useful hobby. “We’ve always been into shop activities, and I think I’m just an all around mechanically oriented person,” Bryan said.

Bryan said that this race is about entertainment and giving the community something interesting to do. However, she said, for the contestants and their helpers, it’s all about displaying who can produce the fastest speed by whatever means necessary.

“It’s all about engineering, and I just happened to out-engineer them when I won last year,” Bryan said. “I’ve been fine-tuning and tweaking since then.”

Kathy Jordan, who ran a fundraiser for her local church,  Anchor Tabernacle, in front of the finish line, said she was still unsure who won despite being so close to the action.

“I thought I saw Super Doodie pull ahead at the very end, but everyone here thinks they saw something different so I’m not sure,” Jordan said. “Whoever won it was one of the closest finishes I’ve seen in all the times I’ve come to this race.”

After a review of video taken of the finish, Whitman and his team of judges determined Dylan Bowers, representing the Choudrant Fire Department, to have won by two inches.

“All we really did from previous years was put some good grease on the bands, air up the tires real tight and hope for the best,” Bowers said. “Now we’re going to go home, have a fish fry with my family and celebrate because I am so excited we won after being certain we had just lost.”

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