BRISTOL —The New York Yankees of the 1950s, the Boston Celtics of the 1960s, the Montreal Canadiens of the 1970s, and now the Berry cousins of the present day — they are all dynasties of their own eras.
With their fourth consecutive victory in the Independence Day Bristol Outhouse Race, local residents Chris and Kevin Berry have established themselves as Addison County’s modern day athletic dynasty — the duo of cousins has owned the town’s Fourth of July outdoor toilet-racing scene since 2009.
In the 34th edition of the Bristol Outhouse Race, an event that the event announcer claimed to be only time “you like to see toilets running,”the burly Berry cousins left no doubt that they would yet again break the finish tape in the final heat first.
The cousins’Snap’s Restaurant-sponsored outhouse barreled down Main Street, getting out to an early lead and then coasting to a convincing win in the championship heat in front of a packed red, white, and blue crowd.
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“We basically did what we do every year,”said Chris Berry, 24. “The way we start is my cousin and I will both push, then he stays behind pushing, and I jump in the front and start pulling. That’s what’s worked for us the past four years.”
Despite the consistent racing tactics year in and year out, the Berry cousins have never actually prepared for the race itself.
“We really do nothing,”said Kevin, 22. “We raced last year which got us in shape for this year.”
The only thing to change from their previous championship races was the rider. This year, Casey Jones replaced last year’s rider, Matt Jackman, and used a blue booster seat as her throne of choice.
“It was a good time,”Jones said of her first riding experience.
Should Jones rejoin the Berry-powered team next year, she might once again be queen of the water closest.
“We’re gonna keep doing what we’ve been doing,”Chris Berry said as he tried to hold back a smile, hinting at the team’s desire to win even more championships down —and on —the road.
Last Wednesday’s event included 13 teams in all, as Snap’s Restaurant outlasted 12 other jostling johns sponsored by local businesses or organizations.
Young Life, Mountain Greens, and Bristol Recreation Department competed in the first heat; Village Creeme Stand, Bristol Financial Services, and Carter Insurance Agency in the second heat; Champlain Valley Heating and Plumbing Services, Camp Kookamunga, Home Health Care, and Bristol Historical Society in the third heat; Makeshift Films, Snap’s and Pineapple Wafers in the fourth heat.
As always, spectators were encouraged to purchase one-dollar tickets of the color designated to a team in each heat; cash prizes went to backers of the winning rolling toilet. For spectators with no allegiances to any of the competing outhouses, buying a ticket provided extra entertainment.
“I don’t know anyone here,”said a man who recently moved to Bristol from Hawaii and preferred to remain anonymous. “But I’m having a blast picking the winners from each heat.”
Upon seeing Snap’s Restaurant coast to its first victory of the day in the last of the four preliminary heats, the man jumped up and down, his hands outstretched in the air.
“That was my pick,”he said, grinning. “I knew they’d do it.”
Snap’s Restaurant’s victory in the last preliminary heat ensured a spot in the final, but came with a small price: The Berry cousins would have less rest before the championship race than the winners of the earlier three preliminary heats. For many spectators, though, Snap’s Restaurant’s ultimate victory always seemed inevitable.
Even some first-time fans could spot their impending dominance in the final.
“I always had faith in those big guys,”the anonymous newcomer said. “You could just tell they’d do it.”