(PHOTO CAPTION: The Hot Springs Fire Department team speeds its tub down Bathhouse Row in the 2021 Running of the Tubs.)
HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — Nine new tubs have been entered for the 16th edition of the Stueart Pennington World Championship Running of the Tubs bathtub races to be held June 4 on World Famous Bathhouse Row in downtown Hot Springs.
Presented by Bathhouse Soapery, the Running of the Tubs will see 19 costumed five-person teams push regulation bathtubs the length of Bathhouse Row in a zany contest filled with even zanier rules and regulations.
The races begin at 9 a.m., and the public is invited to bring their toy water guns to add to the soaking the teams generate themselves. No water balloons are allowed because the deflated balloons create problems in the city’s storm drains.
“We’ve got nine new tubs entered this year, and it’ll be interesting to see if the newcomers can challenge the veteran tub teams who’ve been doing this crazy event for years,” said Bill Solleder, marketing director of Visit Hot Springs, which organizes the races.
The current world champion tub teams are the Hot Springs Police Department (Battle of the Badge competition); Riser Ford (Traditional Division); Hot Springs Fire Department (Modified Division), and Spa Pacers (Stock Tub Division).
The Judging of the Tubs ceremony will be held Friday evening, June 3, at 6 o’clock in Hill Wheatley Plaza. Awards are handed out after Saturday’s races for winners of categories such as most unusual tub, and so forth.
This year’s Running of the Tubs entries are:
• Twisted Fork Grill and Lounge - new tub
• Window Mart
• Bathhouse Soapery (2020 World Champs)
• Visit Hot Springs
• Riser Ford (2021, 2019, 2018, 2017 World Champs)
• The Waters Hotel
• Enlightened - new tub
• LifeNet Inc. - new tub
• U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Ouachita Project Office - Lake Ouachita Park Rangers - new tub
• Trinity Church - new tub
• Hot Springs Police Department
• Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort - new tub
• Simmons Eye Care - new tub
• Princess Nora's Warrior Foundation - new tub
• Hot Springs Fire Department
• Arlington Hotel & Spa
• Hot Springs National Park
Stock Tub Division
• Low Key Arts - new tub
• Hope Movement - Galloping Grans - new tub
This year’s Tubs Judges will be Bobby Graham (head judge), Charlene Simon (starting line), Clyde Covington, Mary Zunick, Carmen Jones, Marianne Chartrand, Michelle Harrison, Maxwell Blade, Robert Zunick, Don Gooch, Brad Burleson, Traci Berry, Adam Webb and Tiffany Tucker.
This year’s sponsors are Bathhouse Soapery (presenting sponsor) and obstacle sponsors Riser Ford, Bathfitter, ESPN Radio and Resort TV.
Last year’s edition of the Running of the Tubs was named the 2021 Most Unique Event by the Arkansas Festivals and Events Association.
The Running of the Tubs is a celebration of Hot Springs’ historic past when the city proclaimed, “We Bathe The World!” and is named in honor of the late 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 races were begun as the Stueart Pennington Running of the Tubs, and Mr. Pennington will still be honored as the motivating force behind the event with the awarding of the Stueart 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.”
For information contact Bill Solleder at 501-321-2027.