CooterFest 2012: Pictures, Tweets, & Races

Last year, CooterFest was on Mother’s Day weekend, but this year it was on my birthday weekend. Lucky me!

You can learn the basics about this annual event on the CooterFest website. But for the color commentary from our perspective, you’ll want to keep reading.


Parade: A-F High School Marching Band

Parade: Tractors, too.

Allendale Elementary Steel Drum Band

Happy guy

Happy guy

Two more happy kids

Turkey leg before . . .

Turkey leg after (Sender & I ate it)


Here was my favorite tweet of the day:

I just had to stop a drunk guy from getting on the swings ride with all these little kids. #cooterfest

I’ve talked to this guy before, when I had to stop him from hacking down a church’s bushes during Operation We Care. I was waiting for the swings ride to start (with Hannah and Elijah on board), and I saw him talking to a teenage boy, who didn’t know what to make of him. Next thing you know, Drunk Guy is removing part of the portable fence so that he can join the ride. I called him back and asked him what he was doing. He showed me the couple of dollars in his hand and said something about “ride.” I said, “No. Not for you. Only for the kids.”

He stared at me for moment, and slurred, “I remember you. You from the churches and the workday!” Yes. Yes, I was. Now, time for you to go away. And he did.

And here is my second favorite tweet of the day:

Oh so close to winning $1100 racing turtles today. #cooterfest #ohwell

Which leads me to . . .

Races (and More Pictures)

Days before the CooterFest, I was explaining to my friends that racing turtles, or cooters, down a 12 foot track (with lanes separated by 1×8’s so the turtles don’t climb on top of each other), is less exciting than you might imagine. Well, that’s still true — I don’t think cooter races are all that exciting.

Unless you are a part of it.

Don’t worry — the white paint washes off.

With her own money, Hannah decided that she wanted to rent a turtle ($5), name it “Speedy” (free), and enter it in the race ($1). Over 200 cooters were entered, including contestants that drove from 1 or 2 or 4(!) states away. For a $100 prize for division winners (small and big size) and for a $1000 prize to the overall winner, you can hardly blame them.

With such “professionals” I was figuring to plop our cooter down, and have him mosey along to a last-placed finish. But taking cues from previous heats, I saw that you could bang on the 1×8 dividers to encourage your turtle to hurry on down. So, I slapped my hand on the boards over and over, and little Speedy lived up to his name, blowing away our 8 competitors. (I still have bruised hands and sore arms.) On to the semifinals. Adrenaline is now surging through my body.

The winners of each heat then raced in two semifinals races. Then, the winners of each semifinal heat battled it out for $100, (and both semifinal winners would also go to the grand finale race). And, you guessed it, we won our semifinal heat. Things were really getting interesting.

In our division finals (where you had to win 2 races to win the $100), Speedy was off to a good start, but Hannah excitedly ran to the finish line too early to cheer on her turtle. Uh, oh. Disqualification. We won the second race, and my shoulders and hands were getting really worn out. We lost the final race-off. Bye, bye $100.

But Speedy was one of the four turtles competing for the grand prize of $1000. Again, the cooter needed to win 2 races to be named the champion. Let me tell you — Speedy was done. He didn’t move a foot in each of the first 3 races. Fortunately, three different turtles each won a race. And guess who decided to race (and win) the 4th race? Yep, Speedy!


So, one final race, for $1000. They were off. Speedy hesitated, but then (with lots of yelling and board-slapping), Speedy took off. But too little, too late, and got 2nd place, by only a couple of feet.

I gave Hannah a big hug and kiss. We were a little disappointed that we missed out on $1100.

But, let’s not forget this very important part:

We had the second fastest cooter in the entire county.

I bet that on your next birthday weekend, you won’t be able to say that.

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6 responses to “CooterFest 2012: Pictures, Tweets, & Races”

  1. Susan says :

    Looks like we missed all the fun! Glad y’all enjoyed it though!

  2. Kathy Lewis says :

    What a great time of making memories with your kids! In the years to come, I predict this story will get better and better! 🙂

  3. Bob says :

    I like the last picture of the “Finals”, but I really need to see the video.

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