Idiotarod comes to Asheville

The Idiotarod — which has been a strange and hilarious success in New York City and Washington, D.C., among other locales — is coming to Asheville on Sunday, Nov. 22. Get your team, find your cart and start sewing the sequins on your matching capes.

The event pits teams of five against each other for a 5k shopping cart race “filled with trickery, challenge and some of the dumbest/coolest/most amazing costumes you have ever seen,” according to an e-mail from the event’s local organizer. “The Idiotarod is a lot like the legendary Alaskan Sled Dog Race called the Iditarod, which is a dog sled competition that spans over 1,150 miles of Alaska’s roughest, most beautiful terrain. The Idiotarod is essentially the same thing, except it covers 5 kilometers and instead of dogs we use people (idiots) and instead of sleds we use shopping carts (super pods of wonder).”

The racers choose a theme, decorate their carts and dress in foolish costumes. Then they race the carts. And the Asheville event has a twist: “Teams will also have to complete community project based challenges that will help benefit MANNA FoodBank, a community garden and a community building recycling program.”

Trickery and competition are part of the challenge, and the awards include the Hoff Award, the Chuck Norris Award, the Richard Simmons Award, the Picasso Award, the “I Piddy Da Fool” Award and the Zoolander. Some of the awards are being hand made by artists representing local galleries in the River Arts District. Check out some photos of past events and this slideshow from the Village Voice. More funny photos.

Asheville’s Idiotarod will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22 at Riverside Drive. Registration is $75 per team (teams have five members). It will finish up at the Wedge Brewery with an after-party featuring bluesman Levi Douglas and singer/songwriter Zach Blew. Registration is limited; sign up at www.ashevilleidiotarod.com.

A couple of FAQs, from the Web site:

• Where the heck do I get a shopping cart?
Good question. You will need to get your own shopping cart. We think if you explain to cart owners that this is for charity and you promise to return the cart, they will let you borrow one. We do not encourage stealing and accept no responsibility for your cart. There are many shopping carts in our community that are abandoned and seeking a good home. Drive around until you find one. Clean it up and make it feel special. Many stores also have shopping carts they are looking to retire and don’t mind giving away. Local dumps and steel recycling centers may also have carts you can have.

• Why am I doing this?
Honestly, we have no idea. After all who in their right mind would dress up like complete idiots so they could push a shopping cart for 5 kilometers for a good cause. We’re guessing it’s the good cause part combined with idea of having fun while wearing wigs, togas, giant snail costumes or gratuitous amounts of spandex in public for hours on end, but who knows. Apparently scientists have done studies, but they didn’t come up with much. So in order to help the process we included that question on our registration form so we could better inform our general public (and scientists) in next year’s race.

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