There were jockeys and steeds, but this wasn’t any ordinary race around the track.
Lucerne Valley Elementary School 6th-graders served as handlers who beckoned their charges to move as quickly as possible in the Lucerne Valley Roadrunners’ Annual Worm Race on Friday, May 6th. In the end, five students reigned supreme in the competition that saw more than 90 squirmy wormies either lay there motionless or skedaddle at a blazing snail’s pace to a hopeful freedom and glorious victory.
The Worm Race was first held more than 20 years ago. It was created by longtime Roadrunner member Jo Richards, a former local newspaper columnist who every year would write colorful, comical articles promoting the springtime event. Other volunteers would oversee a number of individual worm races held on Worm Race day in the school’s Goulding Hall. Like many other school activities, this is the first Worm Race since 2019 due to the pandemic.
Winners of this year’s race: The Fastest Worm in the West, handled by Aalexia Kennedy, Big Al, handled by Miguel Larios, the Great American Bull Worm, handled by Cristobal Mendoza, Goober with David Diaz handling, and Pinkie, with student Monserrat Calderon as handler.
Event organizational duties have been handed over to Mandy Gilmore, who would join her mother to the event when she was a child. Joining Gilmore were Roadrunners Michelle Courtney, Marie Scafidi, Kandia Hoyt, LeeAnn Lambert, Betty Chadwell, Victoria Gilmore and Billie Stebbins. Honorary Roadrunner Jerry Byars drove from Arizona to lend a hand.
The Lucerne Valley Roadrunners is a volunteer group of women, and a few honorary men members, dedicated to raising money for the students of Lucerne Valley. The Worm Race raises money with the help of sponsors who donate money for each worm competitor. Other fundraising events include the annual Halloween Trunk Or Treat, the Easter Egg Hunt and participation in the annual Fourth of July festivities. All money goes to pay for Christmas gifts for local youth and scholarships for graduating high school seniors.
Photos by Peter Day
Winners: From left, Aalexia Kennedy (Fastest Worm in the West), Miguel Larios (Big Al), Cristobal Mendoza (Great American Bull Worm), David Diaz (Goober) and Monserrat Calderon (Pinkie).
Roadrunners and community volunteers: Michelle Courtney, Marie Scafidi, Kandia Hoyt, LeeAnn Lambert, Betty Chadwell, Victoria Gilmore, Mandy Gilmore and Billie Stebbins.