The ninth annual unconventional, if not zany, Ebenezer Scrooge Reindeer Races presented by the Jackson Tourism Enhancement Committee took off Saturday in the town of Jackson.
Jim Hendrickson, of JTEC, whose title for the event was “O-Fish-Al,” initiated the first of four races with a shot from a starter pistol that was followed by much madness and mayhem.
In past years, the races featured nine teams — three heats consisting of three teams — but this year only seven teams participated, representing East and West Feliciana.
Teams from competing towns consisted of two people: the Motivating Individual who pushed the Sleigh Executive Rider.
“Motivating Individuals are blindfolded and must wear reindeer antlers as a sign of their exalted status,” said Hendrickson. “MIs are guided by their SERs with verbal commands only.”
Race leaders followed the sleighs, named Bowser, Buttercup and Fang, throughout the race course ensuring teams committed no fouls.
If a foul was committed by a racing team, it was halted on the spot and required to spin around in a circle three times before proceeding on the course, according to the “o-fish-al” race rules.
Fouls could be earned by touching a cone, running off course, running into a parked car or some other foullike action.
Each team was given “snowballs” to lob at attendees, but hitting a race “O-Fish-Al” with a snowball was prohibited.
Competing teams included Jackson Tax Assessor Jeff Gardner and Garrett Gardner against Clinton Mayor Lori Ann Bell pushed by Police Chief Fred Dunn and Norwood Alderman Willie Duncan and his wife Tonia Duncan. Team Clinton won the first heat.
Jackson town treasurer Holli Gilmore and husband Noel Gilmore competed against Jackson Town Marshal Larry Sagely who pushed Natile Busillo.
The Gilmores won the heat.
St. Francisville Mayor Billy D’Aquilla and last-minute teammate Marcus McGehee became a team and won their heat against Scotty Dawson, who was pushed by Chris Guillot, of the Jackson Volunteer Fire Department.
Winners of each heat advanced to the final championship race after traversing a designated closed course that started at Jackson Town Hall and raced to the fork in the road and back again.
D’Aquilla, who didn’t have someone to push his sleigh at the start of the race, ended with the overall trophy by recruiting East Feliciana’s McGehee to be the MI to his SER. Bell and Dunn finished in second place.
All teams received a certificate for participating, and the top two teams won trophies.