Prickly issues

5 Jul

I was convinced to take a road trip to Council, Idaho for the Fourth o’ July. Usually I don’t need much convincing to take a road trip, but I had mixed feelings about this one, because the main attraction in Council on the illustrious anniversary of our independence is the

world championship!

While normally something involving champion porcupines would really peak my interest, this seemed kind of mean. It would be one thing if these were like, zoo porcupines or pet porcupines (hey, it happens:


or porcys who are pampered like Punxsutawney Phil. But after initially getting excited about the folksy-ness and kitchy-ness possibilities (I am all about folksy and kitschy and small town-y), I read more about the race process. It turns out the porcupines are captured the night before or so, then kept in little cages so they are rarin’ to go when they’re let out. We got to look at the contenders pre-race, and although they are very cute, the little nocturnal guys didn’t look too happy. Most of them didn’t have enough water, or shady spots in the 100 degree heat that normally they would’ve slept through, all secret and safe. I felt bad.

nobody knows the trouble he's seen

The racers are transferred from their cage to the field via trash barrels, which are upended on the field (so, the guys get tumbled around quite a bit). When the race is on, the porcupines are encouraged to run via trashcan shoving and brooms. Some of them just stand there, some run frantically, some try to climb the fence surrounding the field (and are bopped in the face with the soft part of the broom) (also, who knew porcupines were such climbers?).

there's a porcupine in that thar trash bucket!

a couple got a good ways towards the top of that fence

brooms and plastic trashcans are porcupines most fearsome enemies in the wild

 After my friend pleaded with me a bit, I agreed to go (sucker for those small mountain towns. Council has a population of about 600 people. And almost every single one of those people commented on the vibram shoes I was wearing), with the caveat that I could bow out of the porcupine races, if needed. I watched the first heat (of seven), and I have to admit, it was pretty ridiculous to see the little critters running around, and how much fun most of the handlers were having (look at the grin on that kid’s face up there). But then one of the handlers kicked a porcupine. And I stopped watching. Granted, the porcupine race ref yelled at the kicker, that if he did it again he would be disqualified, but the kick had done been kicked already. It should’ve been that one mistreatment equals disqualification from any and all future races. No more racing of any small nocturnal rodents for any rodent kickers!!! A pox on your porcupine kicking houses!

while this is pretty funny, it's speaks to a general attitude that does not bode well for porcupine-abuse awareness issues.

I know there are bigger battles than this. And all the porcupines received more fame and flash-photos than any other porcupines in the history of porcupines (except maybe that youtube video porcupine), and supposedly they are released the same place they were found. But I still feel bad for the poor stressed out little quillie-cuddlies. Not that I am going to take up protest signs anytime soon. I am just going to condescendingly complain about it on my teeny corner of the internet, whilst wearing my vibram shoes.

Anyway. The rest of Council was charming! And even the porcupine races was interesting for the cultural experience and all. And really the reason I went was to get to spend time with my buddy, whom I hadn’t seen for a while, and we got some great girly chatting time in, which was lovely. I also bought a wooden napkin holder with dobermans carved on it, so that alone was worth the trip (Julius approves of kitschy depictions of his badass self).

nifty courthouse art

notice the blood on the lumberjack's axe? Pony better watch her back . . .

Council, ID. All one street of it!

Road Trips ForEVER! Porcupine Abuse NEVER!


2 Responses to “Prickly issues”

  1. Cody Cahill July 7, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    Nice post. Glad you could make it up to Council for our festivities. I’m the aforementioned porcupine race ref, and I want to assure you that in the future kicking of porcupines will be dealt with severely.

  2. camalittle July 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    Aw, jeez, I hope I didn’t offend you or anything, Cody! I am known for being a soft-heart crazy around animals (I have teared up while horse-riding because I felt bad for the horse. Yet I was riding the horse, so obviously I am also a hypocrite).

    In case it didn’t come through, I thought Council was rad, especially in its enthusiasm for home-town activities, and it is my current when-I-move-to-a-small-town small town of choice. And you obviously had your hands full and all at the race. Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry if I sound like a pompous ass in this post (my blog is maybe read by three people usually, so I sometimes forget to edit for pompous ass-ery on my part).

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