A pair of elongated white metal runways fills the back patio area of Tiny Tavern and Douglas Liquor. As co-owner Ron Trussell pours water from a clear plastic jug, the miniature trenches become fish dragstrips for the inaugural minnow racing event July 27.
Attendees scooped up the minnow they thought would bring championship glory out of a bucket in the bar, transporting them in small cups to take outside to the raceway.
More reminiscent of a major boxing bout than a minnow race, competitors size up minnows others selected, taking part in some friendly smack-talk as they waited to begin.
“I got this, (my fish) looks confident,” Daniel Ortiz jokes with a wry smile.
Each person uses a plastic straw to blow into the water to help propel the fish forward, although the method is quickly scrapped by many who are stuck with uncooperative minnows that swim back to the starting line or idle quietly as competitors scramble to make something happen and pull out a late victory.
Richard Walker defeated all of the other heat winners present to be the “champion” of minnow racing.
“I showed up at the right time and picked the right fish,” he says with a laugh.
Tavern co-owner Norita Trussell says she thought this would be a fun event to try for the first time at her business.
“We thought we’d try to do this more often,” she says of having a similar event once word gets around of the fun they’re having. “People enjoy it. I think once word gets out, we’ll have more people participate. It’s a good way to have fun with friends . . . people said they would definitely do it again.”
She adds that they like to try different things to bring fun to the establishment, and that this fits right in.
“It looks like everyone likes it and is having fun,” she notes.
As more people show up, attendees continued racing late into the afternoon.
Clint Hoffman had a battle-hardened minnow that was still alive after going through multiple races.
“Mine almost died earlier and he still finished,” Hoffman exclaims. “That’s my boy!”