Add Event My Events Log In

Upcoming Events


Spalding University loves rats-The Rat Race runs for 40th year
Print this page

Spring in Louisville means Derby is right around the corner, unless you are a student or alum of Spalding University; then it means The Rat Race is near. Forty years ago, Sister Julia Clare Fontaine heard students talking about the "rat race" of finals week. As a means to alleviate the stress of the closing Spring semester at Spalding, Sister Julia Clare immediately took to the track - a very small track, that is.

The "Most exciting 2 seconds in sports", according to Trivial Pursuit, allows students, staff, and professors to train rats to run in hopes of capturing the coveted garland of fruit-o's, sometimes confused with the popular Fruit Loops cereal. Emcee and gracious host Dawn Gee of WAVE 3 amazingly brings students, faculty, staff, and alums together at "Spalding Downs" in the Ballroom, once a year to celebrate rats with names like, Lady Luck, Roulette, Burlesque and LibeRATce. A mere .024 furlongs and an average 1.8 seconds pass by until one rat is lucky, or smart enough to finish the course

A fun-filled parade takes a route from 4th and Breckenridge Streets down to Broadway and back up 3rd prior to the Rat Race. Trolleys from TARC, Louisville Metro Fire Department, and each school & department of Spalding are well represented in the parade, throwing candy to supporters lined along 4th and 3rd Streets. Spalding President, Tori Murden McClure walks at the head of the parade to signify her support for this time honored tradition in the Spalding community.

Each year, a specific theme for the Rat Race is chosen by Spalding students. Themes in the recent past have included, "The Year of the Rat" in the Chinese zodiac; "Peace, Love, and Rats"; and this year's theme, "Viva Rat Vegas". Stay tuned to Spalding University's website for details on next year's Rat Race - more fun than one can expect over a garland of O's.

President Tori leads the parade in her finist Vegas style
Love the beard.
A lot of time went into this hat.
For anyone who saw National Lampoon's - laugh out loud, now.
The nursing students always have a great turnout for the parade
OT does not stand for Overtime, in this case
The best job at the Rat Parade - getting to wear the rat head
The Faculty & Staff dressed appropriately for the occasion
Looks like a smart little rat enjoys the parade
Vegas themed trucks allowed students to ride along the parade route
The Spalding community is tight - friends for life are made here.
These three young ladies brought Vegas to Louisville during the parade
It isn't a parade until a boat with Vegas show girls is seen on the route
These ladies had a blast dressing in Vegas themed outfits
I think the ABA students work with humans, and not just rats.
LMFD brought a very large fire truck with them
A great excuse to dress with the theme of the Rat Parade
Spalding U's athletics department followed behind President Tori
Athletes across all sports attended the Rat Parade
Campus was covered with balloons to celebrate the big day
ABA=Applied Behavior Analysis. They help to train the rats to race
Dr. Randy Strickland was in true Vegas form - looks like a card shark.
The littlest of fans took to the streets to see the parade
Strike a pose - lovin' the hat dude!
It isn't a Rat Parade without a rat car
...and that car must have a tail
Elvis helps "push" the parade down 3rd Street
Every race in Kentucky has the best hats for supporters
...and those hats must have rats on them
Elvis entertained the crowd lined on 3rd and 4th Streets
Juice Newton taught us all not to play with the Queen of Hearts, but Aces are okay.
The best thing about Vegas could be the gambling, the second are the outfits
The creativity shown in this event makes it all the more fun for students

Share On:

Allison Ray's picture

About Allison Ray

I am a big fan of Louisville and the diverse culture we enjoy in terms of the arts and entertainment. I love attending local events, taking pictures of almost anything, and relaxing at home with a good book!

More from author:

Upcoming Events

    Event Finder

    Restaurant Finder


    Select the newsletter(s) to which you want to subscribe or unsubscribe.

    Subscribe to The Weekender, Louisville's weekly guide for where to go and what to do!


    Louisville Real Estate with Joe Hayden, Your Real Estate Expert!