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Bar stools to race for charities March 1

Racers from last year’s Somerset American Legion Bar Stool Races were raring to compete. This year there will be plenty of snow on the tracks for racers. (Submitted photo)

Do you have your bar stools ready?

Saturday, March 1, is the fourth annual Bar Stool Races at Somerset American Legion Post 111. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The first bar stools will rocket down the hill at 10:30 a.m.

Legion member Earl Fatheree said the bar stool races have three purposes: to raise money for local charities; to provide fun for the whole family; and to celebrate the (hopefully) end of winter.

“By this time of year, people are fed up with winter,” Fatheree said. “Our goal every year is to raise at least $5,000 for local charities and we’ve been successful in that goal.”

Legion members stress that all net profits raised that day go to charity. The Legion tries to give at least $1,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project, Fatheree said. Other donation recipients include the Fisher House in Minneapolis (a place where veterans’ families can stay while veterans receive medical care), Grace Place, local youth sports organizations, area food pantries and the VA Health Center in Minneapolis.

“The bar stool races raise a good 20 percent of the money we donate each year,” Legion Commander Bob Neuenfeldt said.

Local youth sports organizations and the Sons of the American Legion will offer different food choices the day of the races. All profits they make that day go to their respective organizations. The Legion also kicks in an extra $300 to help cover their base costs of operating a food stand.

“Every nickel goes to someone that needs it,” Legion member Mark Devorak said.

Legionnaires are also hoping this event will help raise awareness for the American Legion and the Sons of the American Legion. They encourage veterans and sons of veterans to join.

“Let’s face it, the Legion is aging,” Sons of the American Legion member Mike Davis said. “We want to keep it going and help it grow. That’s also what inspired the Sons of the Legion. We’re the largest Sons organization in the five-county area.”

Currently, the Legion has 153 members, while the Sons has 39.

How the races work

Each bar stool racing team should have a rider and a pusher. The rider has to ride the stool sitting down with no feet touching the ground. They push off from the start line at the starter’s signal. The push zone is 23 feet long. The race lane runs 125 feet and drops about 10 feet.

The rider must be seated on the stool and the pusher cannot be touching the rider or the stool as the stool crosses the line at the end of the push zone. All races are double elimination.

Riders must be 18 and wear helmets. Sharing barstools and racers is not allowed.

There are two divisions: a men’s division and a women’s division (Powderpuff).

Last year, 68 teams raced in the men’s division, 15 in the Powderpuff, Fatheree said.

First and second place trophies and payouts will be awarded in each division. Third and fourth place will also receive payouts, Fatheree said. Prizes will be awarded for the most creative bar stools in each division.

This year a race between different taverns is being introduced. The four businesses taking part are JJ’s Outpost Bar & Grill, the Sportsmans Bar & Grill, T-Buckets Hometown Bar and General Sam’s. The winner of the “bar battle” will receive $300 to the charity of their choice.

The stools

The racing “sleds” are one bar stool mounted on a set of skis. They must be gravity powered only.

The stool must be at least 27 inches high with skis attached. The maximum width the skis can be apart is 18 inches. The skis themselves must be at least two inches wide.

No outriggers, ribs or cutters are allowed. All stools will be inspected by the race committee before they race.

Day of the race

Event parking will be available. The Apple River Cruizers Car Club will again assist at the finish line, with race lane grooming and parking.

Pre-registration, available until Feb. 22,  is encouraged and costs $20 per team. Registration the day of the event is $30 per team.

Entry forms are available at or at the American Legion, 464 County Road VV, Somerset.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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