Two-year-old Nora Rigell and her cockroach named Poo Poo Man were the top racers on Wednesday at the 34th annual Great American Bug Race at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
In order to win the $100 top prize, Nora’s insect had to outrun a host of competitors, including one raced by Nora’s big sister, Laney, 6. Laney’s bug ended up winning a $10 prize.
Asked about the secret to her bug’s success, Nora’s dad, PBA Resident Director Isom Rigell, had one idea. “She dropped him off the table earlier. I think that was the key,” he said.
The more than 20 other cockroaches that participated in the contest were raced by PBA students, faculty, staff, alumni, family members and guests.
The annual event, PBA’s longest running tradition, serves as the kickoff for Homecoming weekend and raises money for the PBA Science Club.
This year’s event was sponsored by the Alumni Association. In addition to the sponsorship and T-shirt sales, the event raises money for the Science Club through bug sales of 50 cents apiece and entry fees of $1 per bug.
Student volunteers served as judges for the event. One of them was Taryn Lentz, a junior accounting major who signed up in exchange for a lab credit.
“This is a little hard for me,” said Lentz, who strongly dislikes cockroaches. “This is intense.”
Not only was it her first year participating, but it was her first year attending as well, Lentz said. “I’ve always heard about it though.”
In addition to the $100 prize, Poo Poo Man also won $50 for winning first place in the non-student category. The other winners were:
1. Dwight Shrute (Will Foster)
2. Michael Scott (Will Foster)
3. Gilbert (McKenna Paulley)
Non-student category (includes alumni, faculty, staff, family members and guests):
1. Poo Poo Man (Nora Rigell)
2. Javier (Nicole Freire)
3. Grossy (Laney Rigell)