Nemo 500 Outhouse Races

Nemo 500 Outhouse Races

It may seem odd — or a little hillbilly — but it’s something you cannot knock until you’ve tried it, that is the Nemo 500 Outhouse Races.

The first year the outhouse races were held as a way to encourage friends, neighbors, and customers to come out and rid themselves of the "cabin fever" syndrome that accompanies long, cold winters in South Dakota.

The race is against the clock with the best time winning. Halfway through the race the team members must do a drill consisting of putting colored toilet paper rolls on color-coded toilet plungers, then continue to the finish. There are three age divisions. Each division receives first, second, and third place trophies made to look like tiny outhouses.

The rules are simple; a team of four to five people; a non motorized outhouse designed and built by the team; each team must have a theme, including costumes and designs applied to the outhouse; a team member must ride in the outhouse at all times; and all members of the team must cross the finish line.

Not forgetting the kids, there is a scoop shovel race — one child sitting on the shovel and the other pulling. This is a timed event where all contestants receive ribbons or medallions. There is a chili cook-off was also on the morning of the races.

The first year drew about 200 people even though the weather was not inviting.

"I believe that curiosity was the major factor. There was a lot of laughter, and people were encouraging us to do it again the next year, so we did," says founder, Willie Saye.

"We felt that we should do something for the community the second year, so we decided to sell tickets for a drawing with a cash prize to make money for our local volunteer fire department, which was in dire need of a vehicle that could reach accident victims in the National Forrest. We also held an auction of donated items with all proceeds going to the fire department. It was very successful, and the fire department purchased an all-terrain vehicle fitted with the necessary emergency equipment needed to do their job."

Since that second year, they have been approached by different organizations asking if they would consider doing the races for their cause. Each year has gotten bigger, and better organized, reaching goals of up to $10,000 for the chosen charity. The last three years they have raised money for the NAJA Shriners' kid’s transportation fund, which is the chosen charity again this year. "We feel it is a great cause because proceeds go to local families," says Willie.

The one thing that has not changed is the fun and laughter of all who attend. It is a great family event, free to the public, and for a great cause.

This year's event is February 24, 2018, at Nemo Guest Ranch, 12737 Guest Ranch Loop, Nemo. Visit to learn more.

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