For the last 10 years, Henry Jones has spent the second weekend in October in the crapper.
Jones, along with the other members of his team, participates each year in the World Championship Outhouse Races in Virginia City. Again this year, Jones' team and latrine, affectionately named "Virginia City Brick Shed House," will be among the dozen teams who will spend their weekend in the toilet.
"It's just fun to do, and I enjoy doing it," said Jones. "But I am going to be a little more serious this year. My goal is to win, and it's time to start thinking about winning and not just fun."
Jones hopes to use his decade of experience powering Port-o-Lets to revamp his entry for this year. He has taken his outhouse from previous years, named the Crystal Crapper, and made some improvements.
"The Crystal Crapper wasn't made for speed, it was just made for a good time. You want it streamlined, with not a lot of wind resistance," Jones said.
Event organizer Elma White said the event is all in good fun and started as a way to bring people into the community.
"It's been going on for 10 years, and it's an event that we do just for fun. It's really a good time," White said.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. Friday at Sergeant Major's Silver Dollar Saloon with registration and a welcome party. The cost to register is $100 per outhouse, with fees going to race costs, awards and the celebration Saturday night.
Inspections of the outhouses will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, followed by a parade at 10:30 a.m. beginning at the Bucket of Blood Saloon parking lot. The double-elimination race schedule is 11:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. with the course running from Grandma's Fudge Factory to the Delta Gift Shop, all on C Street. The street will be closed during the races, but reopened between them to allow traffic to pass.
Between races, visitors can participate in raffle drawings and enjoy hot dogs, soft drinks and snacks sold by the Virginia City Middle School's eighth-grade class. A cash bar will also be available.
Saturday night, competitors can lighten their load during a party at the Millionaire's Club of the Washoe which includes a performance by Red Rose and the Smokin' Embers.
Sunday brings the annual Show N Shine contest from 10 a.m. to noon, with judging on beauty, ugliness and originality. Immediately following the contest, the competition really gets moving with the semi-final heats and championship race.
White said the event has a good following, with teams coming from hundreds of miles away to compete.
"There is a couple from Sacramento that has done it for the last three years, and they have already said they are looking forward to doing again this year," White said.
Yet, Jones said the most important thing for longtime competitors and first-time entries alike is to get into the spirit of the event.
"Come with an open mind because there are all different types of outhouses out there," Jones said.
n Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
When: Sergeant Major's Silver Dollar Saloon registration and a welcome party 6 p.m. Friday; inspections begin at 9 a.m. Saturday; parade at 10:30 a.m.; racing 11:15 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Saturday; Show N Shine contest from 10 a.m. to noon and championship races 10 a.m.-noon Sunday.
Where: C Street in Virginia City
Fee: $100 entry fee