Outhouse race to raise money for local charity

2016 Outhouse Race. Photo provided by Jim King

Sapphire Valley Resort is raising money for a local food bank in a very unusual way – a homemade outhouse race on the ski slopes.

The tradition that started 11 years ago continues this Saturday, Feb 18, at 11 a.m.

“It’s an unusual way to promote a local charity and it always get’s a lot of attention,” said Jim King, Director of Marketing at Sapphire Valley Resort.

The outhouses are homemade by locals and are equipped with a toilet seat and a roll of toilet paper or an “alternative wiping source”, according to the event’s website. They are raced on a two-lane track on packed snow with two teams racing each other over 40 yards. This year will feature a record 18 teams participating.

2016 contestants race down the snowy hill. Photo provided by Jim King

Teams consist of two “pushers” who push the outhouse 30 feet while one is the “sitter” who sits on the inside of the outhouse throughout the race. Teams can customize their outhouse however they like, as long as the sitter is visible.

“We’ve had teams make ones that look like fire-hydrants, Notre Dame themed, and some make theirs look like an actual outhouse,” said King.

This is one out of two outhouse races in the entire United States, and the only one with snow. Last year they had approximately 2,500 people attend and are expecting even more this year. The event will be broadcast by a national television crew and covered by many news outlets including the Citizen Times in Asheville.

BBQ will be served and live music from local musicians The Jackson Taylor Band will entertain participants from 11:00 to 2:30 p.m.

Child races down the hill in 2016 race. Photo provided by Jim King

For the past 11 years, organizers choose a local charity to donate the proceeds to. They have previously donated to the Boys and Girls Club and the Cashiers Humane Society. This year all proceeds will go to the Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry in Cashiers, NC. According to their website, “one in five people living in Jackson County fall below the poverty line.” Fishes and Loaves distributes food to individuals and families in need. This is the second year in a row that the Outhouse Races will benefit the charity after raising over $2,500 last year.

“I go every year. It’s family fun for a good cause,” said Ken Fernandez, local Cashiers  resident.

Even with all the people planning to attend,  it’s safe to say attendees won’t have trouble finding a bathroom.