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Spalding University celebrates 40 years of rodent racing-The Rate Race lives on
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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.

Slideshow: 
The ABA is front and center in the Rat Parade
Strike a pose
For any who saw National Lampoons-laugh out load
Spalding University Nursing Students are a major part of the University
OT is for Occupational Therapy, in this case
A prominent moment - wearing the rat head
Feathe boa, martine, bright colors - yep, this is Vegas
One smart little rat - a cute rat, as well
Trucks decorated in Vegas themes allowed students to ride the parade route
Great friends are to made at Spalding.
These young ladies bring Vegas to Louisville
President Tori leads the parade in her best hat for the occasion
Trolleys signified the great ambiance of downtown culture
Vegas is a foot on the crafts in the parade
Feather boas were the order of the day
Feather here, feathers there, feathers everywhere in the parade
Rat Vegas is all about playing the odds
Lovin' the beard
LMFD also rode in the parade
Spalding U Athletics-very big part of Spalding
Athletes across all sports walked
Spalding Balloons were everywhere on race day
It isn't a Rat Parade until the car has a tail
...and the car has ears
Spring Break for JCPS allowed the little ones out to enjoy the parade
Dr. Strickland dresses like a Vegas card shark
The hat contest is so much fun-come parade day
Elvis helped "push the cart" in the parade
Elvis stole the show for the fans
Again, the hats were amazingly creative
Every hat should have a rat in it.
Trolleys were decorated with student organization banners
So pretty - should be the "Queens of Hearts"
It's not Vegas until there is a feather in a hat
Dressing in costume is most of the fun of the parade
ABA=Applied Behavior Analysis - talk to them about training the rats.

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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!

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