Nisswa Hosts 60th Annual Turtle Races
by Olivia Armstrong
Whether it be new racers or those that have returned year after year, community members are coming out of their shells to celebrate Nisswa’s 60th annual turtle races.
“You register, you pay $5 to race a turtle. You get a souvenir button, a chance to win some prizes, and part of that money goes to their group that they’re doing charity work for,” says Nisswa Turtle Races announcer Mark Ulm.
For how much interest these races generate, these turtles have become heroes in a half-shell for local businesses.
“We do it every Wednesday all through the summer and it brings a lot of people in,” says Ulm.
“About 25,000 people come into town over 12 Wednesdays. So it’s pretty amazing for all of the retailers, the restaurants, everybody benefits,” says Nisswa Chamber of Commerce President Pamela Dorion.
These races encourage people of all ages to join the fun. Some competitors make use of their own personal strategies.
“I tickled [my turtle] a little, then I sprayed some water on him, and he just started going,” says Turtle Race winner Hadley.
All proceeds raised from the annual Turtle Races go to Mounted Eagles, a local therapeutic horsemanship organization in Brainerd.