Trenary Outhouse Classic
King Of The BackwoodsThrones
Trenary Michigan – The skies opened and let the sun shine down to warm smiling faces and spirits of the hundreds of people who came out to attend the 22nd annual Trenary Outhouse Races. Put on each year with the intention of getting people out of the house in the middle of winter to blow off steam and have a little senseless fun.
Hearing about the Trenary Outhouse Classic for the past three years we decided it was time to initiate our family into this cultural U.P. ritual that takes place the last Saturday of every February. So, we put on our customary 4 layers of clothing and packed up our 4 kids into the van to head out deeper into the boonies on Hwy 41.
After driving nearly a half hour through the endless expanse of sticks and snow we asked ourselves if we shouldn’t just keep on heading south to the end of ’41’ in Miami Beach, FL. Before we had a chance to ponder the thought too seriously we found ourselves at the intersection of M-67 making the quick left turn that takes you into the peripheral town of Trenary, home of the backwoods thrones.
In the 45min it took to drive from Marquette, park the car and make the short walk to the main street of festivities we had already heard “I’m bored” so many times and broken up so many fights we were more than ready to blow off some steam. As for the crazy and nonsensical aspect of the event, we were already in the spirit since that part comes naturally with 4 kids. Especially, when the main attraction of the day involves the theme of “poop”!
This normally quiet little town becomes a riotous wasteland of poop puns for the day as participants unload their outhouse designs to be pushed one at a time down the main street of Trenary to the screams, chants, and laughter of spectators who watch eagerly from atop mountainous snow piles and line either side of the snowbound race track.
Each year a new theme is selected and racers build their outhouses accordingly out of wood, cardboard, and whatever else their imaginations can concoct. The only specific requirement for designs is that they incorporate a toilet seat, roll of toilet paper, and are mounted onto skis. By this time the last remaining complaint from our kids was that nobody actually got to ride the thrones while being pushed down the track. Apparently, when it comes to toilets kids love realism.
Now, with any good “Yooper” tradition worth it’s salt beer is a crucial element and at the Outhouse Classic you’ll find plenty. Whether you’re cozying up in one of the pubs, the warming tent, or grabbing a six pack from the local grocery (all located on the sidelines of the event) you’ll find something to lighten your mood and satisfy your thirst. There’s nothing like a day out in the fresh air to stoke your hunger and they’ve got that taken care of too, everything from monster sized turkey legs to pasties are available and some folks just set up grills in the snowbanks to cook their own burgers and dogs tailgate style.
As the competition commences racers let loose with their innovations walking, running, and crashing their way down the track to the delight of onlookers. As the last outhouse makes it’s way to the finish line prizes are awarded for a variety of categories and the merry making carries on in a big street party until the crowd slowly disperses.
The kids are calm and content as we load back into our van. The silence from the back seats as we drive a sure sign of the good time had by all as they happily snore all the way home. The few hours of laughter and fun outdoors has filled our cameras with memories and stories unique to the Upper Peninsula but entertaining for all. We decide our trek to this obscure event in the U.P. wilds was well worth the drive and as they say in Trenary, “What else have you got to do in the middle of winter, anyway?!)