The outhouses raced along a narrow track.
By JENNINE ZELEZNIK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
BAZETTA -- The sun shone on a short stretch of pavement along the main thoroughfare at the Trumbull County Fair.
At one end, a white ribbon fluttered in the breeze, marking the finish line.
At the other, five portable outhouses.
Contestants from area 4-H groups built racing outhouses out of wood or cardboard to specifications provided by the Junior Fair Board: Three walls, a roof and the all-important toilet seat. Most went a step further, adding graffiti and toilet paper to their portable johns.
"We're gonna win," Colleen McGuire, of A Touch of Class saddlehorse group, said with quiet assurance.
Her group's adviser, Dawn Koffel, cut in, "No -- we are gonna kick some butt."
"Yeah!" The two high-fived in the air.
A few outhouses over -- this one a bright yellow, wooden model -- Rachael Prokop of Brookfield 4-H friends stood, confident in her outhouse's success.
"Ours is definitely going to do better than some of the cardboard ones," she said, laughing.
Ready to go: Her adviser, John Pans, was already seated inside the outhouse, fulfilling the Junior Fair Board's final requirement -- for every outhouse, a group's adviser must sit on the, er, throne.
The first outhouse in line, built by the Silver Claws cat club, has made it through four races already.
The advisers, Linda Vannelli and Karen Herubin, take turns riding inside.
"They didn't make me ride last year," Herubin said while strapping on knee pads and a helmet. "I was pregnant."
Susan Lingenfelder already had towels securely duct-taped around her elbows and knees. The adviser for the Kounty Kritters club, she did have to ride last year.
"They crashed me," she said with no hint of humor in her voice. "The whole thing fell over."
Emily Hall, one of the club's members, tried to make her feel better.
"We have seat belts this year," she said with a straight face, then collapsed into giggles.
How race went: The whole race headed into the crapper, though, when Junior Fair Board members decided to race all five at once along the narrow track.
Soon after the race started, three outhouses crashed, lightly injuring two contestants and sending the third to the hospital. The extent of Rebecca Currence's injuries was not known. She is a member of the Trumbull County 4-H Hareraisers.
Kounty Kritters were still declared race winners, with a Touch of Class coming in second and Silver Claws in third. For creativity, the Brookfield 4-H Friends won first, Kounty Kritters won second and Touch of Class won third.
Winners were given $5 gift certificates to a fair concessionaire.