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Dawson City crew takes the outhouse race and throws down the plunger

The race took place on July 31
Skid Row team: top row- Zack Bartholomeus, Jacob Caley, Alastair Findley Brook. bottom row - Kalilah Olson, Shadunjen van Kampen (Klondike Visitors Association/submitted)

Heat played a factor in the outhouse race this past weekend in Dawson City.

“We were all covered in sweat by the end! Sweat stains everywhere— underwear, sweat stains, everything!” said Zack Bartholomeus, a second-generation outhouse race participant.

“We watched our parents do this and we wanted to show them what we’re made of.”

The Great Klondike International Outhouse Race got its start in the 1970s, well ahead of similar events now held across North America. Some are winter events, like in Anchorage where outhouses are raced on skis on snow; or summer, like Virginia City where the outhouses are propped up on wheels.

Anchorage’s didn’t start until 2006 and Virginia City’s started as a protest in 1989 when outhouses were banned in that city— an action that Dawson City only undertook a few years ago.

Outhouses are a long tradition in Yukon, as is the race.

It can be a raucous affair, bordering on bad taste and bawdy humour.

Batholomeus’s team, Skid Row, finished the race in a grueling 35 minutes, well ahead of the competing team, the Harry Potties. The Harry Potties, led by Holly McCourt, took home the prize for “best dressed” team. They were costumed as wizards, but called themselves whizzers.

Their sign said “Welcome to Hogfarts” and their outhouse was covered with paintings of magical creatures marking the houses of Hufflepoop, Gryffindump, Ravencrap, and Slytherin Bowels.

Although they were well decked out, the Harry Potties were no match for the simply dressed Skid Row team determined to just “go out hard.” Afterward, Batholomeus’ advice was for the “Potties” to concentrate a little more on their running.

For next year though, Batholomeus’ team of young locals threw down the plunger, saying they are determined to take both prizes for speed and fashion.

This year, they are stoked to be taking the $250 in prize money. They are a young team with many more years of outhouse racing ahead of them.

As Batholomeus said, “We’re a young crew, all born and raised in Dawson City.”

Contact Lawrie Crawford at