Wednesday, June 24, 2009

rat roulette


In between LeRoy and Batavia is another small town called Stafford.  Stafford was having their Fireman’s Carnival while we were there.  This is their annual big fund raising event for their volunteer fire department.  They have several raffles...a car, a snowkat, money..., a parade, a carnival and bands on the weekend under a big tent.  The parade was on Friday night and as we were passing through that morning on the way to the studio, people were already setting their chairs by the roadside for the event.  When we came back through that evening, there were many more and the authorities were getting ready to close off that section of the highway, setting up a detour.  We didn’t go to the parade, but Amanda started telling us about the rat roulette they have at the carnival.  

Saturday evening after the workshop was done for the day, we all went to the carnival for dinner (beer, sausage with onions and peppers, salt potatoes, fried dough all guaranteed to clog an artery or two) and rat roulette.

You pays your money and you takes your chances


Rat roulette is a colorful wheel with pie slices of different colors with a hole at the fat end of each slice.  On three sides are tables with colored squares corresponding to the colors on the wheel with the odds printed below it.  The odds range from 1-1 (yellow) to 1-10 (white).  Bets are limited to 25¢ to a dollar, in quarter increments.  The carnie spins the wheel and holds the rat over the center and it climbs down and then runs into one of the holes while the wheel is spinning.  Before we got started, I was joking that the rat was probably trained to go into the yellow holes and darned if the first four times that rat didn’t go into a yellow hole.

into the yellow hole

There were quite a few players and everyone was hollering at the rat to go into whatever color they had bet on.  We stopped after 50¢ each, Marc and I, but one of our students invested $3.  It took her about 20 minutes to lose it.  After a while I guess the rat was getting dizzy cause it would wait til the wheel had stopped spinning to go into one of the holes.  When the carnie figures the rat is getting tired, he'll change to a new rat.  He had about six of them in a little cage.  They were all named Oscar because, as the carnie said, ‘I can’t tell them apart.’


  1. I likes this game..I likes it a lot... :)

    My daughter's school has a cow plop contest as a fundraiser...the field is sectioned off into a grid..each grid is sold as a deed for $10..if the cow plops in your deed you win $5,000 !!!

    I've never been lucky.

    Peace - Rene

  2. Sounds like a case for PETA!! I would have been screaming as I don't care for rodents. Interesting observation on the color, though. Yellow is the first color you see when you look at an assortment of cars in a car lot.....hence the yellow school bus, yellow taxis, etc. I guess yellow is the predominate color for all animals.......

  3. Phew. When you forewarned us about the upcoming rat post, I feared they were in the house you were staying in!! Much better to see them at a carnival ;)

  4. I like how that carnie thinks! Didn't George Foreman name all his kids George? Better with rats, me thinks.

  5. This is SO funny! I wonder what the rats are thinking (they are very smart animals, you know). Probably something like "Humans are such a bizarre species! Don't they have anything better to do?"

  6. It was very entertaining. I blew my 50¢ on one quarter on blue (1-2), one quarter on white (1-10). It was more fun for me watching everyone else throw their money away and taking pictures.

    The carnie obviously cared for his rats. They were healthy and he petted and cooed at them.


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