Entries Now Being Accepted for 2019 Version of World Championship Running of the Tubs Bathtub Races | Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

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Entries Now Being Accepted for 2019 Version of World Championship Running of the Tubs Bathtub Races

Published: 4/15/2019

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — In its second year of being designated as the World Championship of Bathtub Racing, the Steuart Pennington World’s Championship Running Of The Tubs is now accepting entries for the 2019 race.

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — In its second year of being designated as the World Championship of Bathtub Racing, the Steuart Pennington World’s Championship Running Of The Tubs is now accepting entries for the 2019 race. 

The races will be held Saturday, June 1, at 9 a.m. on Central Avenue along World Famous Bathhouse Row in downtown Hot Springs.

Sponsored by Visit Hot Springs with presenting sponsor The Bathhouse Soapery, the races are open to teams in both the Traditional Tubs Division and the Modified Tubs Division, according to Bill Solleder, director of marketing for Visit Hot Springs. 

He said applications are available at the Hot Springs Convention Center (501-321-2027) or by contacting him via email at bsolleder@hotsprings.org

“The Running Of The Tubs is another of the great family-friendly celebrations that are so popular with our residents and visitors,” Solleder said. “The crowds lining Bathhouse Row and joining in the wacky fun by shooting Super Soakers and throwing water balloons at the racers have been growing every year as word spreads about this super free event.” 

The 2018 winning racing teams included: 

  • Traditional Division – Riser Ford (three years in a row)
  • Modified Division – Hot Springs Police Department
  • Battle of the Badge matching the Fire Department tub against the Police Department tub – Hot Springs Fire Department
  • Most Original Tub – Habitat for Humanity
  • Most Spirited Tub – Window Mart
  • Overall Tub – Peter’s Paint & Flooring 

More information about entering a tub team may be found at  https://www.facebook.com/RunningoftheTubs/ 

The incredibly arcane (and endlessly fluid) rules for the races this year include: 

• The Running Of The Tubs will be held in front of Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, on Saturday, June 1, 2019. The event is a celebration of Hot Springs’ historic past when the city proclaimed, “We Bathe The World!” and is named in honor of Stueart Pennington, a well-known and respected downtown businessman.  The event consists of teams pushing their bathtubs — on wheels of course — down Central Avenue, in front of Bathhouse Row, in Historic Downtown Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.

• The guidelines and rules, which are subject to change at the whim of the judges, include:

  1. Any authentic bathtub (old or new) may be entered. Tubs must be no smaller than forty-eight (48) inches long and twenty-four (24) inches wide.
  2. The wheels on the tub must be no bigger than thirty (30) inches diameter mounted on axles no more than forty-four (44) inches wide.  Casters or rollers are not allowed.
  3. No motors or mechanical devices can be used to push the tub.  The four members of the team, not in the tub, must power the tub the entire length of the race.
  4. Each team must consist of five (5) members:  a captain, who must ride in the tub; a Bath Towel Attendant; a Bath Mat Attendant; a Soap Attendant; a Loofah Mitt Attendant.  All team members must be over eighteen (18) years of age and must sign a liability release form prior to the start of the race.
  5. During The Running Of The Tubs each team member must keep one hand on the tub at all times.  In addition, the attendants must hold in their other hands, their particular item.  Example:  The Soap Attendant must keep one hand on the tub and hold a bar of soap in the other hand.  The Loofah Mitt Attendant must wear the loofah mitt on one hand, and hold onto the tub with the other hand.  No exceptions to this rule!  If any team member drops his/her item, the tub must stop until that team member retrieves his/her item.  The team must then make one complete circle of the tub before the team can restart the tub.  If any team member lets go of the tub for any reason, the tub must stop and all attendants must change positions before the tub restarts.
  6. Each team crossing the finish line must still have in its possession:  the bar of soap, the bath mat, the loofah mitt and the bath towel – or the team will be disqualified.
  7. The bathtub must be full of water at the start of the race and have at least 10 gallons of water left in the tub at the finish line.  If the Judges find less than 10 gallons of water left in the tub – that team will be disqualified.  The Judges will have the final say on how the volume of water is measured.  Anyone who argues with a Judge will never be allowed to bathe on Central Avenue again, or until another Arkansan is elected President of the United States of America, whichever comes first!
  8. The four team members pushing the tubs must wear hats of some size and shape, and also some suspenders.
  9. Water balloons, costumes, and race strategies – everything goes in this contest.  In fact, it is encouraged!
  10. The Running Of The Tubs Judges will have the final say in ALL AREAS of The Running Of The Tubs.  They have the final word on everything!
  11. The Downtown Association of Hot Springs will announce the names of the Running Of The Tubs Judges at a later date. 
  12. The winning team in each division will receive a traveling winner’s trophy, The Pennington Cup – the highest honor in bathtub racing, that they will get to display until next year’s contest.  Each individual team member will receive an individual prize.  Three additional trophies will be given, one for the Most Original Tub, one for the Most Spirited Tub and one for the Best Overall Tub.
  13. All teams must have their bathtub in place in the plaza area of the Hill Wheatley Plaza by 6 p.m. on Friday, June 1.  The Plaza Area will have open access for each team all day on Friday, which will allow teams to put the finishing touches on their bathtubs. 
  14. There is a $25 entry fee for each bathtub team.  Checks, made payable to Visit Hot Springs, must be submitted with the completed forms.  Deadline for entries is noon, Friday, May 3, 2019.  Anyone crazy enough to enter this contest must have their entry form, check and team waivers submitted by noon on May 26 – NO EXCEPTIONS.
  15. Be assured – there will be more rules!!  Participants are subject to the whim of the Judges at all times!!!!!!!
  16. Additional Rules for bonus points and leads.
    A. No Thongs.
    B. A flag or pennant hoisted on a minimum three-foot pole and attached to the tub.
    C. Extra points for Bribes.
    D. “Head starts” may be given according to the Judges’ mood at any given time. 

“The races were begun 14 years ago as the Steuart Pennington Running Of The Tubs, and Mr. Pennington will still be honored as the motivating force behind the event with the awarding of the Steuart Pennington Cup to the winning teams,” Solleder said. “Mr. Pennington was a long-time downtown merchant who pushed for the bathtub races to acknowledge Hot Springs’ rich history as a world-renowned thermal-bathing destination.” 

“Arkansas hosts many unique, colorful and wacky events — a Turkey Drop in Yellville, Goat Fest, the World Championship Rotary Tiller Races, World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, cardboard boat races — but there is no event that is soaked in more dripping wet fun than the Stueart Pennington Running Of The Tubs (SPROTT) in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas,” he said.

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