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Fast and Slow, Worms Wriggle at Rhinelander Library

The Rhinelander District Library had a day at the races…when more than a hundred kids competed in the 28th annual Worm Race.  As WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski reports, some worms just move faster than others.    

It’s an exciting day at the Rhinelander library, as volunteer officials dole out fat nightcrawlers to kids waiting in line with plastic cups.  All the worms have names like Squiggly and Thunderbolt.  The kid coaches hope theirs will be the first to make it from the middle of the table…to the edge.  As one competitor explains, it’s a tournament-style event, with worms first racing in heats.

“If you win your heat, you get to go on to another round," Ashley said.  "If your worm’s good, it can race up to three times.” 

One of the challenges is keeping a worm alive and well.  A veterinarian is on hand to determine if a worm is fit to race.  The instructions warn not to handle your worm before its race.

When the race officials shout "Go!", kids drop the worms in a pile.  Some of them don’t move at all.  But one named Splash eventually wiggles ahead of the rest.  He went on to race again…but eventually lost out to the champion worm named Dr. Steve Number Two, led by 8 year old team member Maria. 

She said she was surprised by the win.

“I thought that this could not be true," she said. "Because our worm was slow when we put it in our cup.  But it started to really wiggle.” 

Worm race analysts are calling it a slow race…thanks to the heat and humidity on the day of the competition.  

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