40th Annual Running of the Rodents

Spalding University Hosts “Viva Rat Vegas” 40th Annual Running of the Rodents

WHAT: Spalding University hosts its 40th Annual Running of the Rodents themed, “Viva Rat Vegas.” Currently eight rodents with names such as Lady Luck, Roulette, Burlesque and LibeRATce will compete for the coveted garland of fruit-flavored cereal-o’s as they speed around a miniature racetrack—.024 furlongs in length and created by Spalding alumna and former Rat Queen Madonna Wilson. Local news personality Dawn Gee of WAVE 3 will emcee the races. The rodents are trained by teams of Spalding students, staff, and faculty.

A public parade complete with floats and decorated vehicles will precede the Running of the Rodents. Parade participants will be dressed Vegas-themed costumes, and in Kentucky Derby tradition, racing fans will wear decorated hats as part of the annual Rat Hat contest. There will also be kid-friendly activities such as a balloon sculpting and bean bag toss.

Lunch (cash-only) will be provided following race day festivities in the University Center Ballroom, 824 South Fourth Street.

Special events taking place earlier during “Rat Week” include a penny war—of which the winner will donate funds to a local charity—and a cereal eating competition. The day of the race a King and Queen will be named from the student body and that evening the university will host a Rat Ball.

WHO: Rodents named for Vegas-themed singers, songs, and events and trained by teams from the Spalding community.

WHEN: April 12, 2012 Rat Parade at 10:15 a.m.; Rat Races to follow.

WHERE: Rat Parade- Route along 3rd &4th Streets in downtown Louisville, KY
Rat Races- Spalding University Center Building Ballroom a.k.a. “Spalding Downs,” 824 South Fourth Street
Parking is free in all Spalding University lots.

WHY: 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.