Just Doo It

Bozeman Dooathlon dog poop scoop competition

The IDD comes to Bozeman.

Runners, mark your calendars and grab your latex gloves. The International Dog Dooathlon (IDD), a family-friendly multisport race, makes its debut in Bozeman this spring. In this annual event, canine and human compete together in an effort to clean up our poop-infested paths. The race, which began in Buenos Aires in 2004, has spread to 17 countries and 23 US states. This is Bozeman’s inaugural year hosting the event.

As part of the selection process, Bozeman had to prove to the IDD Selection City Appointment Team (SCAT) that it was worthy of hosting a competition of this caliber. City staff spent three years meticulously documenting doo-doo densities on local trails, measuring poop particulates in the air, and transcribing testimonials from dozens of disgruntled Bozeman residents. “We logged hundreds of overtime hours,” says solid-waste manager Lea Brick. “But ultimately, the extra load was worth it—this event is going to be huge for our community.”

Numerous locales vied for the coveted “shithole” designation, including Newcastle, England; Madrid, Spain; and various villages in Haiti and El Salvador. In the end, Bozeman received top marks in almost all categories. “It was a pretty easy choice,” says Dee F. Ekait, president of the IDD. “Bozeman has the magic combination of most dog crap and least responsible owners, per capita, of any town I’ve ever seen—and I’ve been doing this, so to speak, for over a decade.”

Early in the selection process, Boulder, Colorado seemed to have a chance, but the town’s bid was ultimately rejected on the grounds that Boulderites are legally considered their pets’ “guardians,” rather than “owners.” Thus, all participating dogs would have been required to sign individual consent wavers. “Outside of California, there’s no legal precedent for canine litigation,” Ekait explains. “Admittedly, most of it has to do with signature authentication. Regardless, there’s just too much risk.”

And so Bozeman it is—and the community couldn’t be more thrilled. “I never thought I’d live long enough to see a poop-free Bozeman,” says one longtime resident. “It almost brings tears to my eyes.”

The Course
A 26.2-mile loop, marked with specially designed “Crap Cairns,” denote the route. These piles range in size, texture, and placement, demanding constant vigilance from competitors. The exact course will be determined on race day, based on current conditions and dung densities at popular trailheads near town.

Entry Fee
Entry fees operate on a sliding scale, and function as further motivation to do well in the race—contestants are refunded $1 for every pound of poop retrieved during the event.

Winners will be determined based on a point system derived from the following formula:

Dooathlon scoring formula

Note that n represents a bag multiplier. Pre-bagged poop (left behind by half-hearted scoopers lacking follow-through), while faster to grab and load, is worth only half the points of an un-bagged pile.

A weigh station will be located at the city offices. Poop will be weighed on a certified scale, witnessed by at least one race official. Police K-9 units will be on-hand to administer a sniff-test for authenticity, and any fake-feces submissions will result in disqualification.

After the event, collected poop will be trucked to Big Sky and deposited in the forest outside the gates of the Yellowstone Club, per official IDD guidelines, which state that all waste must be stored in the most appropriate repository; i.e., with similar existing waste.

An heirloom-quality, 14-karat-gold-plated pooper-scooper is bestowed on the first-place finishers in all categories. Silver and bronze scoopers go to second- and third-place finishers, respectively.

The Dooathlon has partnered with Bad Dog Brewery to create a Double-Deuce American Pale Ale, flavored with dog-poop-fertilized hops and twice-digested barley malt. Receive a free beer upon weigh-in—just ask for the #2 special—and stick around for an evening blowout at the brewery.

Athletes must compete on foot, and are allowed one backpack of their choosing. The race director recommends strapping a trash can to an external-frame pack.

Terms & Conditions
There is a strict Leave No Turd (LNT) policy on race day. If your four-legged friend is behind you, note that it might be making a doggy deposit of its own. The rules are simple: get off your phone, turn off the music, and keep your eyes on Bridger at all times. Offenders will be reported via the LNT Hotline: 800-406-CRAP.