Big Shucks

Now that the Merrell Oyster Racing Series is turning the advanced age of six, people may not remember that the mother of all scavenger-hunt-slash-adventure-races got its start right here in Denver in 2003. In fact, the race is named after Colorado’s most famous dish: Rocky Mountain oysters, of course, because race organizers wanted their baby to be known as the most ball-bustin’ competition of them all. Hence the Oyster.

The course is kept top-secret every year, but race director Jason Ornstein can talk about some past Oyster challenges. “We’ve had them swimming in the Denver Aquarium, sitting in seats at Coors Field, golfing at City Park, riding roller coasters at Elitch’s, shopping at Whole Foods and kayaking in the Platte, he says. Although in-line skating was dropped this year, “there’s a bit of running and there’s a bit of biking in there,” he adds. “People get bored with the same old 10K, or any kind of running or biking race, because it’s always the same course. The Oyster’s always different.”

The course takes between four and eight hours to finish, and a Half-Oyster race option is available. Oyster teams comprise three people, but there are also Oyster relay activities for four to six people. Entry fees are $195 to $450 per team (registration at closes at midnight August 15) and proceeds will benefit the Make A Wish Foundation. But it’s also fun just to watch as the race kicks off today at 8 a.m. at the Denver Aquarium parking lot, 700 Water Street, with more than a hundred teams competing. For information, visit
Sat., Aug. 15, 8 a.m., 2009

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen

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