The Great Cochrane Outhouse Races are coming back this weekend, and organizers are overflowing with excitement.
After a couple of years of pandemic-related cancellations, spectators and participants can gather downtown once again to enjoy the rolling toilets, which will be going up and down First St. chuckwagon-style.
For those who have never been to the event before, local businesses, sports clubs, and other organizations form teams of five and design creative outhouses based on their chosen themes. All outhouses have a toilet inside. Four people from the team will push the outhouse towards the finish line, while the fifth rides on the “throne.”
The highly decorated commodes-on-wheels will roll down First St. W. starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28, with teams trying to flush out their competition.
The organizational baton is being passed this year to the Rocky Mountain Rotary Club. In past years, Karrie Peace and Dan Kroffat have spearheaded the event.
Donna Koper, who died in July, was the original owner of the Heavenly Outhouse and came up with the idea of the Outhouse Races.
Ryan Baum of Rocky Mountain Rotary calls the outhouse races one of the highlights of the year in Cochrane, in terms of community spirit and fun.
“It’s an incredible event for the community. What started out years ago as a small event grew and grew and grew and then unfortunately the pandemic slowed us down a bit,” he said.
Last year, Baum said organizers went right up until a week before the event before they had to pull the plug because of sudden pandemic restrictions, amid a spike in active COVID cases.
“We’re super excited to just get it running again this year and not that we’d have the biggest one ever, or raise the most for our charities, but just that we’d get people together and have them connect again, have something fun to think about as we get back to school with the kids,” Baum said.
He said they’re also happy to see Cochrane and Airdrie facing off again in the mayors’ race.
“Cochrane holds that crown, so we’re happy to see the mayor of Airdrie is coming back to try to reclaim it,” he said.
Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown was injured in the last outhouse race in 2019 and had to be taken to hospital. But he said afterwards that he was keen to take part again.
Food trucks will be surrounding the event and Global News weatherman Paul Dunphy will host the races.
Registrations are open and Baum said organizers are eager to add more outhouses. There are fun events and speed events – but it may be hard to tell them apart.
To register, each team will contribute with a donation, and the cheques will be presented and recognized during the event. All the proceeds of this will be used to support the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation’s Summer Camp Program and local community projects through the Rocky Mountain Rotary Club.
To register or for more information, go to rockymoutainrotary.com.