“Only in Arkansas” is what people kept repeating (tourists and locals alike) when it came time for the toad races. I’ve been hearing about these for years but have never been. I imagined them just a little novelty thing for kids. Oh, how I was mistaken. People take these races so very seriously. People brought their own toads for goodness sakes! They lined up carrying little boxes with their beloved racers inside. And the sponsors had giant trophies to award…full size golden trophies. I had no idea toad racing was such serious business.
We do not own toads (nor would I allow the boys to bring one home after the race to their supreme disappointment) so the kids lined up to borrow one. Ever the future vet, D was excited to see the toads were well cared for and housed in little “Toad Condos”.
They were given little racing visors that looked like toads (which my kids quickly got rid of as soon as they were past the official Toadmaster) and then they were in the second wave of racers. They had to name their toads – one was named Hoppy and the other Alex. The Toadmaster wanted to know if Alex was named after my son’s friend…he informed him “No, he’s a book character. Don’t you read?” which caused the Toadmaster to fall silent as he tried to come up with a response. Poor guy. While one son was charming the crowd with his amusing book review, the other was trying to cheat…note how he’s sneaking his toad ahead of the starting line.
Utter bedlam ensued as the race started and 12 toads began hopping everywhere. Both of my boys had escaping toads and ended up chasing them around the pavilion more than getting them to stay in the racing lane.
las they did not win the golden trophies but came home with participant ribbons and the memory that they’ve actually raced live toads. I can only guess this is important because they are little males and think this will somehow be a thing to brag about amongst their friends. Not quite sure but I know they haven’t stopped talking about it yet.