Horned Toad Derby

May 23, 2009 12:20:59 AM PDT
The 73rd Annual Horned Toad Derby is underway in Coalinga. The event features daily "races" between Horned Toads, which are actually lizards. The first race was held Friday night.The reptiles are placed in the center of a ten by ten foot square, sequestered by a metal ring. When the ring is lifted, they scamper. But the opening race wasn't dramatic. The lizards advanced only a couple of feet and sat motionless as statues for two and a half minutes, before one made a dash to the edge of the square and was declared the winner.

Three more races will be held Saturday. Two on Sunday and two races on Monday, the last being the final.

The horned toads are members of the Iguana family. Native to California and Mexico there were caught near Coalinga. After the races they will be released to the exact spot they were collected in.

In addition to the races, the Coalinga event featured a carnival, live music and lots of other entertainment. It's being held at Olsen Park in downtown Coalinga. It runs until 4PM Monday.

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