SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald
They came, they crammed, they conquered. Well, technically they tied.
It standing room only in the parking lot of Gazpacho New Mexican Restaurant for Durango’s 11th annual Snowdown Outhouse Stuffing Contest.
Each year, two teams compete to see who can fit the most people in an outhouse.
“All the king’s men are going to get in to see if they can break the record,” said Al LiBrande, a co-organizer of the event.
Each team tried to defend its honor, pride and, of course, a generous bar tab from Gazpacho.
Just before Saturday’s competition, two teams, each short on people, combined forces to create The Muffins.
Before removing their shoes and sunglasses, The Muffins began recklessly piling into the outhouse. With a minute to stuff the team in and shut the door, speed was crucial.
The final tally for The Muffins was 12 people. Not bad, but not near enough to beat the record of 22.
Next up was team Oh Doody, led by Outhouse Stuffing veteran Brandon DenHartog.
Right away, it was clear DenHartog knew what he was doing. A line of teammates, mostly petite women in spandex pants, stood single file, ready for DenHartog to work his magic.
“I had people on my shoulders and standing on my quads, that’s the only reason I’m in there,” said Erik Jaeke, Oh Doody’s tallest member.
Unfortunately, only 19 people made it in, not enough for the record DenHartog had in mind.
Luckily, for both teams, they got a second chance.
The Muffins desperately recruited more team members from the crowd as they returned to the stage with a vengeance.
After jamming, jumping and crouching, 15 Durangoans popped out of the Porta-John before pulling a woman painted as a blue smurf from what was called “the hole.” Thankfully for her and everyone else, the outhouse was clean and unused.
Finally, DenHartog and his flexible friends took another shot at the record.
After two women disappeared into the hole, DenHartog methodically pushed and lifted his team in what looked like a human version of Tetris.
“We were in the hole, like down in there,” said Kelly Holland of Oh Doody. “We were in the fetal position, with Liz’s head in my hands,” Holland said of teammate Liz Ashworth.
As the crowd held its breath, the final count was in. With 22 of Durango’s finest in one outhouse, Oh Doody matched the record and brought home DenHartog’s fourth win in six years.
“Only recruit people with very good hygiene,” said DenHartog, referring to the secret behind his Snowdown success.
Now that the Outhouse Stuffing record has been matched, there’s little doubt DenHartog, and his crew will be back to break it next year.
“He wanted the record, but he still got 22,” said co-coordinator Emma Lou Lucero.
As for Lucero, she’s laughing from the sidelines.
“Never for 11 years have I gone in there,” she said.
SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald;