What you need to know about the shopping cart race

Plans are underway for more than 100 people of various inebriated states to race dozens of embellished shopping carts through downtown Phoenix in February.

This can only mean one thing: the Phoenix Idiotarod is back this year.

For the uninitiated, the Idiotarod is “a charity shopping cart race in which teams of five ‘idiots’ band together with a modified grocery cart and race through the streets of Phoenix.” according to its website.

Racers usually arrive in costume, roll their themed floats to downtown bar checkpoints, drink booze, and eventually cross the finish line.

The Phoenix Idiotarod will take place around noon on Saturday, February 26.

What is the Phoenix Idiotarod?

Up to 36 teams will race their caddies through the city center – without breaking any laws or harming anyone, of course – and stop at each checkpoint for at least 20 minutes. Alcohol consumption is optional, although organizers encourage attendees to support these local businesses, which will provide special discounts.

The problem? Four people must be “buckled up and running with the cart” at all times, and volunteers will be watching.

Previous years’ teams have included “Scooby-Doo’s” Mystery Machine, a hot dog cart, and a cruise ship.

Depending on the routes chosen by the teams, the race could be anywhere from 3 to 5 miles long, with “sabotage, costume and presentation” rewarded along the way. To learn more about the detailed rules of the event, go to https://www.azcacophony.org/idiotarod/rules.php.

Participants are not encouraged to steal shopping carts. The organizers ask you to find an empty cart that’s been misplaced in town and then bring it back to the store after the race.

Or, as the website states, “Find one that’s not in the supermarket and bring it back to him. Along the way, take part in this race with him.”

The first team to cross the finish line will be crowned the winner at the afterparty. There will be other awards givensuch as Best Cart, Best Costumes, Best Sabotage, and Rookies of the Year.

How to join the Phoenix Idiotarod 2022

This year’s race is limited to 36 five-person teams. Solo runners looking for a team to join can subscribe to the mailing list.

Participants must be at least 21 years old, as the race checkpoints are in the bars.

Registration costs $50 and must be done through PayPal at https://www.azcacophony.org. The funds pay for the expenses of the event and some are donated to a charity that has yet to be announced.

Those who want to watch and support the Idiotarod racers can volunteer for the event; contact idiotarod@azcacophony.org volunteer and visit https://www.azcacophony.org/idiotarod to learn more.

Phoenix Idiotarod 2022

When: Around noon on Saturday February 26.

Or: Downtown Phoenix. The starting point will be emailed to participants one day before the race.

Admission: $50 per team.

Details: https://www.azcacophony.org.

Contact the reporter at kimi.robinson@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @kimirobin and Instagram @ReporterKiMi.

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Peggy P. Gilmore