11th Annual Nemo 500

Submitted photos.

This is one circumstance where you will be excited to see an outhouse. On February 25, contestants will bring their creativity and speed to the table by creating a transportable outhouse to race at the 11th Annual Nemo 500 at the Nemo Guest Ranch in Nemo, S.D. The family friendly event also hosts a chili cook-off contest, a raffle, and “Scoop Shovel Races.” Proceeds support the NAJA Shrine Kids Transportation, but the event didn’t really start out as structured as it is today.


“The first race was held as a way to get people together to have a little fun after a winter of staying inside,” explained owner and operator of the Nemo Guest Ranch Wiladine “Willie” Saye. “We didn’t do it for a charity, just for fun. We had only a few entries, but ended up having about 200 people show up.”

After the initial success, they decided to use it for a good cause and raised money for the volunteer fire department in the area.

“We are in the National Forest with hundreds of miles of trails and there are a lot of accidents that happen in areas where first responders were unable to get to with regular vehicles. We raised enough money to help purchase a specially equipped UTV for them,” said Saye.

Last year 2,500 attendees were present to see what unique outhouses, themes and bathroom puns contestants chose. Saye recalled her favorite as a group that created their interpretation of the Budweiser Clydesdale commercials. “They actually had horse heads and feathered legs,” she said.


A few of the rules for outhouse teams is that it can only be human powered (no electric, solar, or gas powered assistance), they must have four walls, a roof and a doorway, and it must have a seat with at least one hole.

“There is a person in the outhouse and they have to be visible at all times. Halfway through the course there is a ‘fire drill’ where contestants each put a colored roll of toilet paper on a color-coded toilet plunger and the person in the outhouse then changes with someone else for the rest of the race,” said Saye.

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