The Kentucky Derby may be over, but anyone who feels the need for speed can enter into an entirely different kind of race for a good cause that will take place this Saturday. The second annual "Kick the Crap out of MS Outrageous Outhouse Race," held on Market Street in downtown St. Marys, will feature the best outdoor thrones Elk County residents can come up with to help raise money for local sufferers of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Event organizer Kevin O'Leary said the race was established two years ago to help area residents who have been afflicted with the chronic, unpredictable neurological disease that attacks the central nervous system. He said he hit on the idea of the race when fundraising ideas with Jessica Bauer, also one of the event organizers, and others who were aware of the financial as well as the physical toll the disease can take.
"Jessica Bauer, who's one of our best friends, she got diagnosed with MS, she was diagnosed probably about eight years ago now. I have relatives as well. We just wanted to something good every year to raise as much money as we can," O'Leary said.
He said they also wanted the event to be "unique," and most people would think that an outhouse race would be just that.
"We wanted to do something rather than just having a spaghetti dinner or selling calendars," O'Leary said. "I think everybody is supportive of it because it is a good cause."
O'Leary explained that a local bank account has been established so that 100 percent of the proceeds from the race can go to help MS sufferers in the area.
"There are so many people in our area that are affected by MS that we wanted to be sure that it stayed local. One hundred percent goes to the account. This way we know for sure that it's going to someone in Elk County," O'Leary said.
The event begins on Saturday, May 14 at 2 p.m. on Market Street with a check-in and inspection of the outhouses. In order to accommodate the race, the street will be blocked off from the entrance off of the Diamond to just past the guardrails of the parking lot at Gunners; the other half will be left open for area traffic. A rules meeting at 2:30 p.m. will be followed by a parade of the outhouses, and races in the double elimination contest begin at 3 p.m.
Various prizes will be awarded, as well as what O'Leary calls "specially designed" trophies that reflect the theme of the race. He said because the race is classified as "open stock," outhouses may be built of any material and can be decorated in any "non-offensive" manner. There is no weight limit, but a two-person crew must be able to push the structure manually. According to O'Leary, participants went the extra mile designing their outhouses for the first race.
"They really went all out. A lot just made a theme that went along with it," he said, noting that one group designed a "Choppers"-style outhouse based on the television show, while another had a whimsical "Wizard of Oz" theme.
"Basically, anything goes," O'Leary said.
For a list of rules and regulations or more information, contact O'Leary at 814-834-4425 or 814-594-3223; Jessica Bauer at 814-834-1096 or 814-335-6571; or visit www.kickthecrapoutofms.com. Entry forms for the race are available at Dino's, Sweet Scentsations, Mecca's, Gunners, the St. Marys CMF, Hootinanny, EZ Rolling, Monica's, and the St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce. The registration cost is $60, and O'Leary said people can register up to and including race day on Saturday.
"If anybody could get one together and enter it into the race, that would be fantastic," O'Leary said.
"We're going to try to have it every year from now on. If we can keep this going every year, we're going to be able to help out a lot of people."