Outhouse ice races draw competitors

CAROGA – Even with frigid temperatures and wind howling on West Caroga Lake on Sunday, a handful of contestants came out in the cold for one simple task – push a mobile toilet as fast as possible.

The second annual Caroga Lake Outhouse Race drew four teams of competitors and dozens of guests to West Caroga Lake. The races pit teams of five – four pulling and pushing, one sitting – against each other, two groups at a time, to the finish line.

Greta Frasier, a member of the Caroga Lake Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event, said it attracts many interesting outhouses.

According to the rules, riders must have reading material and a roll of toilet paper. The outhouses have to be 4 feet wide, 4 feet long and 8 feet tall and built on skis.

Emilio Muscolino, who designed the Methane Blaster racing outhouse, said he was brought into the event by two friends he’d met at Peck’s Lake.

“I said ‘you guys find a team, and I’ll build the sled,’ ” said Muscolino, who spent a day and a half building the outhouse.

“It is pretty basic,” Muscolino said.

Lynne Delesky, another part of Methane Blaster’s team, said she had difficulty getting the outhouse to the lake after it slid off the back of her truck on Route 29A, causing minor damage to the house.

Ralph Ottuso, the town supervisor and owner of Pine Lake Stoves, said this was his second year competing. Ottuso said boredom drives many people to do these kinds of events.

“They are just people who want to get out,” Ottuso said. “We live in the Northeast [and] in the middle of winter, you don’t want to sit in your house all day.”

Each teams competed in several heats, racing against each other to determine who would be the fastest outhouse. Teams would pull and push the outhouse as fast as possible against another team, trying to be the first to cross the finish line as the crowd cheered them on.

By the end of the day, Canada Lake Marine had beaten out Royal Sharts and Methane Blaster for first place, leaving the others with second and third, respectively. Pine Lake Stoves came in fourth.

Bret Fielding of Canada Lake Marine was humble about his victory.

“It is just for fun,” Fielding said. “It feels good.”

With four competitors, the event was smaller than last year’s – which was a revival of previous outhouse races held throughout the years – but Frasier thought the cold weather may have had an impact on turnout. Sixteen teams originally were registered.