Guests gather for Spalding's Running of the Rodents in the University Center Ballroom.

41st Running of the Rodents, April 4

On April 4, Spalding University hosts its 41st Annual Running of the Rodents themed, “One for All and All for Rats,” a play on the motto of the Three Musketeers.

Rodents with names such as Guinevere, Raphaella and Guillotine will compete for the coveted garland of fruit-flavored cereal-o’s as they speed around a miniature racetrack—.024 furlongs in length—created by Spalding alumna and former Rat Queen Madonna Wilson. Local news personality Dawn Gee of WAVE 3 will emcee the races.

“The theme for the Rat Race this year is one that the Campus Activities Board (CAB) thinks everyone will enjoy,” says sophomore Nichole Hoagland, CAB member. “Rats are one of the most compassionate animals, and we believe “One for All and All for Rats” reflects our designation as a compassionate university.”

At 10:30 a.m., there will a public parade along 3rd &4th Streets in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, complete with floats and decorated vehicles. Parade participants will be dressed Renaissance costumes, and in Kentucky Derby tradition, racing fans will wear decorated hats as part of the annual Rat Hat contest.

Call-to-post will take place at 11:30 a.m. in the University Center Ballroom (824 South Fourth Street). Lunch (cash-only) will be provided following race day festivities in the University Center Ballroom, 824 South Fourth Street. The day of the race a King and Queen will be named from the student body.

When Spalding University’s former professor Sister Julia Clare Fontaine overheard a senior complain about the “rat race” of finals week, she immediately had an idea for a stress reliever before spring session final exams. Since 1973, the Running of the Rodents has been a fun-filled Louisville tradition. Coined as “The Most Exciting Two Seconds in Sports” by Trivial Pursuit® after 1987’s Deep Throat won the Rodent Derby in 1.8 seconds, Spalding University’s annual rat race serves as both a stress reducer and a unique method of teaching students about animal care as well as behavior modification techniques.

Special events taking place earlier during “Rat Week” include:

  •  A Renaissance potluck, Feast of the Rats (11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., April 1, Library Pavilion);
  • Fruit Rings Eating Contest (11:50 – 12:15, April 1, Library Pavilion);
  • Rataissance Fair (11-1pm, April 3, Library Pavilion) featuring jousting, bobbing for apples, lawn bowling, stained glass demonstration, wool spinning and more; and
  • The Pelican Ball (7:30p.m., April 4,  University Center Ballroom) a black and white formal affair (formal dress)  sponsored by Student Government Association.