The Great Bristol Outhouse Race runs in a straight line from the crosswalk in front of St. Ambrose Catholic Church on West Street to the finish line at the traffic light. There are usually 3 or 4 outhouses entered per heat and there are usually four heats. The actual course length has never been measured.
A registration table is set up under a tent on the west side of the announcer's stage in front of Holley Hall. Next to the announcer is a large poster showing the number of heats, the entries for each heat and the ticket color assigned to each entrant, and as the race progresses, the winner of each heat. The heat assignments are made in a random drawing. The winner of each heat then moves on to the final heat to determine who will be the World Champion Outhouse Racer.
Members of the crowd can bet on their favorite entrant in a heat by buying tickets ($1.00 each) of the color assigned to that entrant for that heat. All tickets are numbered and double, so the purchaser gets one half and the seller retains the other half.
Suppose in the first heat that the entrants are teams W, X, Y, and Z. Team W has been assigned the red ticket color, team X has been assigned the blue ticket color, team Y has been assigned the white ticket color, and team Z has been assigned the orange ticket color. You wish to bet that team X will win this heat. You then buy a blue ticket from a pair of ticket sellers (who are volunteers helping out the Five Town GGG Club, the sponsor of the Great Bristol Outhouse Race) one of whom is wearing a sandwich board listing the names of the entrants for this first heat and the ticket color assigned to each and the other who collected money and makes change. There is generally no shortage of ticket sellers nor enthusiasm for ticket purchases.
The first heat is run, and team Y is declared the winner. Team Y was assigned the orange color, which means that your blue ticket can be properly discarded, along with all the other blue tickets, red tickets, and yellow tickets sold for the first heat. Do not despair--there are three more heats and a final heat to come, and your dollar, along with all the other dollars wagered on this race, will go to help defray the costs of next years Bristol 4th of July Celebration. The orange tickets sold for the first heat are placed in a marked envelope.
This process is repeated for each remaining heat, with ticket sales occurring during a 15-20 minute interlude between the heats.
Once all heats have been run, the winners of each heat are assigned a ticket color for the running of the final heat, which runs exactly like the preliminary heats described above.
At the conclusion of the final heat attention is turned to the Announcer' Stage. All orange ticket stubs from the first heat are dumped into a container, stirred, and one stub is pulled out. The number on this ticket is read over the PA system and the person who holds the matching color and number wins a $25.00 cash prize! At this time a nice trophy is presented to the members of team X, the winning team from the first heat. This process is repeated for the other three heats.
The winning ticket for the Final Heat, where the World Champion Outhouse Racer is determined, wins a cash prize of $75.00, and the winning team receives a nice trophy that is somewhat larger than the rest!
A trophy is then presented to the team, as selected by a consensus of the race organizers, who has the best decorated outhouse.
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