Nome celebrates wet Labor Day
By Diana Haecker
Despite rain, stiff winds and temperatures of 39°F, hardy Nomeites donned their rain gear and came out to cheer on the five participating teams in the 45th running of the Labor Day Great Bathtub Race, organized by KICY. The rules were the same as always: One bathtub on wheels, one captain in the tub with water and four runners propelling the vehicle. Competing were athletes from Nome Beltz Varsity Volleyball team, the Junior Varsity team, The Tide Pod, a Greatest Showman-themed team and a KNOM crew.
At high noon all five teams had their ducks in a row and left the startline on Front Street at City Hall. The finish line was marked by judge Kathy Horner at the Nome Post Office building.
Driving the bathtub that secured many wins in the past, the Arctic Lighterage tub, were the Varsity volleyball girls who took home the win by a few bath tub lengths. Second across the finish line were the junior varsity volleyball athletes, third was the Greatest Showman team, fourth the Tide Pod and last were the KNOM volunteers, bring up the rear with a flat tire.
The Crowd Favorite was determined by the level of applause and whoops at the finish line, and the Tide Pods consisting of Kate Hobbs, Caleb Hobbs, Silas Ventress, Wyatt and Aidan Jones emerged as the Crowd Favorite winners, with the Varsity Volleyball team a close second.
A couple of hours later, with weather getting worse and a stiff southern breeze and incoming tide turning the flow of the Snake River inland, the Rotary Club of Nome decided on a historic new approach to determine the duck race winner. While wind drove rain sideways, Charlie Lean and Adam Lust, president for Nome Rotary Club, decided to draw the names of the winners out of a plastic tub instead of releasing hundreds of numbered rubber ducks into the Snake River.
First-grader Matthew Lust did the honors and drew the winners: 1. Prize $1,500: Brent Oesterritter, Duck # 1818; 2. Prize $750: Veronica Martin, Duck # 2065; 3. Prize $500: Cash Best, Duck # 1296; Wild Duck $250: Brad Gator, Duck #1567.