Phi Delta Theta house turtle has a perfect record for 57 years
He walks into the ring like he owns the place, and the crowd goes crazy.
His opponent is placed in the ring alongside him, long fuzzy ears twitching. Killer knows he will win. He has been training for this moment for a week. Besides, the turtle always beats the rabbit.
Killer is one of several turtles on campus this weekend for the annual Turtle Derby. Killer is extra special though, because he is the house turtle of Phi Delta Theta, the fraternity hosting the derby.
Matt Siron, co-chairman of Turtle Derby, said Killer is a Floridian here to win his race. Killer and several other turtles arrived Wednesday, April 8 and they were distributed to the sororities Thursday.
“We do our serenade and distribute turtles,” Siron said.
Siron said he thinks it’s an advantage to have the turtles arrive earlier, because they get acclimatized to the Idaho weather, especially compared to last year when the turtles didn’t arrive until the day before the event due to some shipping problems.
“We tried to make it into a joke, but you could see the girls were sad,” Siron said.
Killer, unlike the other turtles will likely race bare instead of in a costume, Siron said. The members may decide to give him a cape, but they want Killer to be as fast as he can be.
Sorority houses participating in the event often dress their turtles in costumes as part of participating in the event and introduce them with skits, Siron said.
Turtle Derby starts at 11 a.m. April 18 at the Phi Delt house on Elm Street. The event includes all the races, tournament style, as well as an ongoing auction and T-shirt sale, Siron said. All of the proceeds will go to a Moscow community charity, Milestone Decisions Incorporated, which is different from previous years, Siron said. Usually, the men of Phi Delta Theta donate all proceeds to the ALS foundation, but this year they wanted to give back to the Moscow community.
“It’s about the university and Moscow community,” Siron said. “It’s about coming together and giving back to that community.”
Items auctioned off are baskets prepared by sororities or community members and businesses. This year’s master of ceremonies and auctioneer will be Phi Delt alumnus Michael Dradin Kreft.
Every year, Killer faces off against the Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) rabbit in the final race, and every year Killer always wins, Siron said. The men of Phi Delt gather before the race and give Killer a pep talk, trying to get him pumped for his big day. They’ll feed him spinach and leave him to get psyched up.
“We really look forward to (the event),” Siron said. “The moms get really into it too. In one-word it’s fun.”
After the races, Killer and his friends will be released in Lewiston with a Phi Delt alumnus. He will be missed among the men of Phi Delta Theta, but he will be happy to be back in a pond.
Claire Whitley can be reached at email@example.com