Weirdos, TACOs, Soapers and Cops to Return For World Championship Running Of The Tubs Bathtub Races In Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, on June 5 | Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

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Weirdos, TACOs, Soapers and Cops to Return For World Championship Running Of The Tubs Bathtub Races In Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, on June 5

Published: 3/7/2021

HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — The Weirdos will be coming back.

So will the TACOs. And the Soapers. Oh yeah, the Cops will be back too.

The winners in each category from the 2019 World Championship Running of The Tubs bathtub races will return at 9 a.m. June 5 for the resumption of the wacky event on World Famous Bathhouse Row in downtown Hot Springs.

“We missed the 2020 Running of The Tubs Championships because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Visit Hot Springs Marketing Director Bill Solleder said. “But all the winners from 2019 are going to be back for the resumption of this fun-filled celebration on June 5.”

“The added attraction is that this year’s Running of The Tubs will help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of Hot Springs National Park,” Solleder said. “The Park is doing a year-long centennial celebration, and we’re proud to be able to contribute an element of crazy fun to the Centennial. What could be more fun than crazily costumed teams pushing regulation bathtubs down Central Avenue in front of Bathhouse Row?”

The 2019 winners will be back to defend their championships:

• The Hot Springs Police Department will duke it out with the city’s Fire Department in the 2021 Battle of the Badge

• The team from the Bathhouse Soapery will defend their Traditional Category title, which they wrested from three-year winner Riser Ford

• The Austin Weirdos team from Austin, Texas, which has participated for four years, will do battle for the title in the Modified category

• In the Stock category, the TACOs representing the Trail Advocacy Coalition of the Ouachitas will go against all competition.

This year's event is presented by Bathhouse Soapery. Other sponsors include Bathfitter and Resort TV Cable.

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 Solleder.

Only 24 entries will be accepted, 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 at the racers have been growing every year as word spreads about this super free event.”

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 include:

• The Running Of The Tubs will be held in front of Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, on Saturday, June 5, 2021. The event 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 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. Super Soakers, 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 4. 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, 2021. 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.
    1. No Thongs.
    2. A flag or pennant hoisted on a minimum three-foot pole and attached to the tub.
    3. Extra points for Bribes.
    4. “Head starts” may be given according to the Judges’ mood at any given time.

“The races were begun 16 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.

For information contact Bill Solleder at 501-321-2027.

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