If you see people hobbling around town with bandaged ankles this week, give them a high five. It’s highly likely they were participants in the Wapatusset Wonder-K charity run and walk last Sunday afternoon.
A record number of locals came out for the worthy cause. The course is well known for its dramatic scenery. But without a doubt the highlight (and some might say raison d’etre) of the race can be summed up in one word: CORNDOG.
After weeks of training, toning and detoxing bodies, people of all shapes and sizes flocked to the starting line, eager for the challenge and hungry for the food at the finish line. “It’s the thing that keeps us going,” said one runner, too winded to give his name.
See “How the Corndog Became Top Dog” for a detailed history of how the food product became the race mascot, and how Wonder Bread saved Wapatusset from near self-destruction.
By all accounts, the race was a huge success. Two minor incidents were quickly handled by citizens, with no need for police intervention. The first involved a man (name withheld during investigation) who pulled a “Rosie Ruiz” and snuck into the race roughly a mile before the finish line, just so he could get the first batch of corn dogs. He was quickly tackled by a pack of hockey dads.
Another runner, famished after running the Wonder-K in record speed (and after a week on her green algae smoothie detox diet), wolfed down two and a half corn dogs before turning a shocking shade of hot pink. Quick-thinking race coordinator Lyn Fenderbender dashed over to the woman, gave a quick Heimlich thrust followed by a Lucy Liu karate kick right below the rib cage, which dislodged the corn dog piece (landing right in the mouth of a nearby Greyote). Without missing a beat, she then calmly walked over to field questions from press and paparazzi.
Within just 13.5 minutes of finish time, Ralph Goodspeed of Goodspeed Graphics and his trusty portable printing press churned out hundeds of commemorative Wonder-K keepsakes. Popular items included “I ate a corndog, and I liked it” t-shirts and the ever-popular “Wonder Buns” sweatpants. These items are selling like hotcakes! If you’d like to place an order, leave a message in the Comments bar at the bottom of this page.
How the Corndog Became Top Dog
Corn dogs? In Wapatusset?
Since the race began 12 years ago, the hot dog in some shape or form has played center stage. It began with a simple frank rolled in a piece of white bread. “Many of us thought it was perfectly fine just the way it was,” explained Hysterical Society spokesperson Midge Higgins. “But three years later a newcomer moved to Wapatusset with some rather…Midwestern ideas and sensibilities. I think she was from
As the story goes, the split went through the heart of the town, with the townies on the hot dog side, and newcomers favoring the corndog. Two years after that there was the bread vs. bun debate. One selectman (see “crazy old man”) called the buns an extravagant expense and suggested people bring their own sliced bread from home. As he pointed out during a memorable speech (wearing his Edwin Meese “Ketchup is a Vegetable” t-shirt), “They’re already getting free condiments.”
Chamber of Commerce member Jane Smithers explained what happened next: “So then some young hot-shot B-school type contacted Wonder bread, and the next thing you know, we’ve got Wonder bread little league teams, the WonderWagon welcome wagon, and the Wonder-K road race. They said if we switched from plain bread to the Wonder Bun, they’d give a 30-year supply of Wonder Buns to the public school cafeterias. It’s a win-win situation!”
Some may remember the revolt two years ago when race coordinator Lyn Fenderbender attempted to replace the corn dogs with Tofupups. After being called “un-American” in numerous Letters to the Editor in the local paper, she consulted her wise neighbor Babs Mullberry, who had lived in the town for many years and advised her on old Yankee ways. After sampling her neighbor’s mini hot dogs in ketchup and grape jelly sauce, she was a convert and even ran out to buy a Sterno set of her own. “The bottom line is, Wapatusset does not like change,” advised Babs. “And whatever you do, don’t tell them you’re from New York.”
Fenderbender is now a beloved and well respected member of the community. She enjoys both corn dogs and traditional franks, and an occasional Tofupup. However, she draws the line at fried dough: "This is a charity run, not a county fair."
- Underground Reporter SS