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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