When Michael brought the Rubber Boot Race to our attention earlier, I was intrigued. I imagined a cross between a toga party and Pamplona’s running of the bulls with a few rubber duckies thrown in for good measure. With that in mind, I threw my camera and my daughter into the van and off we went.

My enthusiasm was heightened when, upon parking, I spotted a couple of participants in black rubber boots with pink polka dots. This is what I came to see – silliness. The Santa Ana Zoo showed up in a caterpillar costume and the queen and her court – complete with plastic swords and shields – had the right idea.

Still, I left a bit disappointed. The event seemed more like a sober neighborhood block party. You know – the ones where teenagers are still asleep and the conversation is dominated by Edith’s new fichus. I was hoping for Mardi Gras and I got the ladies gardening club. OK, it wasn’t quite that bad – I just got the sense that not everyone there was really into it. With this in mind, I have a few suggestions for the organizers:

1. Silliness sells – dirty silliness sells more. I’m talking mud – the more mud the better. Saturday’s event was, well, dusty. And in my mind dust and rubber boots don’t go together nearly as well as mud and rubber boots. I suspect that many of the kids there would’ve had more fun had there been a mud hole. Consider at least 100 yards of sloppy mud near the finish line. A contest for the muddiest contestant. And while you’re at, why not a little water. My hats off to the Garden Ladies who came in full rain regalia – they had the right idea! (What were you wearing under the ponchos?) Sure, I appreciated the young ladies in their pajamas and the old ladies in their red hats. It just seems that rubber boots beg for rain and mud. Just turn the park sprinklers on!

2. Welcome the rapscallions, knaves, and pranksters. Target the college crowd, the kids with a little disposable income who would jump at the chance to run around in the mud wearing rubber boots with others of a like mind. Think spring break meets non-contact mud wrestling. Advertise to the fraternities and sororities at CSUF, UCI and Chapman University. A little competition never hurt participation.

These suggestions might not fit well with the neighborhood-family image of the event. But I did stop short of suggesting a rubber boot pub crawl!


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Categories: Outdoors /

Awesome! I couldn't make it down there due to illness, but it looked like a great time!

Posted by: Michael Doss at January 25, 2006 10:07 AM

neat! I wish I made it out there.

Posted by: Terry Chen at January 25, 2006 10:10 AM

Well, thank you very much for attending our event!! We certainly appreciate all the feedback and anticipate that each year, like a good wine, we will continue to improve. Last year we were spoilt with the rain and had lots of mud. (See pic link below.) This year, we needed a screwdriver to dig holes for the flags - guess we just assumed the same mud holes would be there from last year.. :-( We had several ads on college sites, myspace.com and recruited folks from UCI frats. I spoke for an hour on the KUCI radio show in Irvine and Santiago College and were interviewed on KOCE television prior to the event. Yes, we need to do more. Would you like to help:-> Our goal is to have a socal "baytobreakers" type atmosphere and you are correct, college students would definitely spice things up like the dancing "Six Pack of Beer" last year. http://www.roughfit.com/coppermine/thumbnails.php?album=31
We'd love to get more colleges involved, even in the event organization. Currently, we have a very small group of volunteers that pulls this together. However, we see tons of potential. More pics can be found at and
Thanks again for coming to the event and adding to the spirit!

Posted by: Lindsey at January 29, 2006 08:42 AM

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