September 5 – Great Bathtub Race in Nome, Alaska

First Monday in September
Posted on September 5, 2016

I did not know that there are such things as “bathtub races,” but apparently a mayor in Nanaimo, British Columbia, started the tradition in 1967.

I'm thinking, um, how do bathtubs even float, let alone race?

But it turns out that the famous Nanaimo bathtub race involves boats made mostly of fiberglass or other lightweight materials. They have to have a portion that looks like or is modeled on a roll-top bathtub....but they aren't actually bathtubs. 

It turns out, the bathtub boat builders add pointy prows so that their boats can cut through the water, plus outboard motors so the boats can, you know, move... And the results look a lot like boats but (to me, at least) not at all like bathtubs!

Hmmm...the boats aren't bathtubs, and they don't even end up LOOKING LIKE's the deal?

The Great Bathtub Race in Nome, Alaska, is nothing like the Nanaimo race. It's a lot more “bathtub,” for one thing!

There is a dress code of sorts.
Racers are supposed to wear large-brimmed
hats and suspenders.
Entrants to Nome's Great Bathtub Race must consist of teams of five. Four push a bathtub on wheels about 100 yards, down Nome's main street to a finish line.

The fifth member (the Captain) must be in the bathtub as it is pushed. The Team Captain is urged to pretend to be taking a bath!

I see more holding-on-for-dear-life than pretending-to-take-a-bath!

Note that many contestants wear stripes
of duct 
tape as their suspenders.
One team member must carry a large bar of soap, one must carry a washcloth, one must carry a bath towel, and one must carry a bath mat! They are called the Bath Soap Guard, the Wash Cloth Guard, the Bath Towel Guard, and the Bath Mat Guard.

Sadly, it didn't work out for these guys.
The bathtub must be full of water at the start of the race. By the end, it must have no less than 10 gallons of water still in the tub! And soap bubbles must be apparent in the water!!

No motors are allowed. No mechanical devise may provide any propulsion. It's all muscle, weight, and wheels!

It all sounds incredibly silly but also fun. I'd like to see this one – far more interesting and different, to me, than the Nanaimo race!

Have you noticed that many of the Team Captains
are smaller than the rest of the team? As in, often,
they are little kids?

Smart...very smart.

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