By Annette Shailer

A historic battle is to play out this Australia Day when the Story Bridge Hotel hosts its annual cockroach race.

Probably the only competition where spectators are encouraged to byo contestants, the event draws thousands of spectators and sees the household pests flown up from Melbourne to compete.

Previous winners include Cocky Balboa, Osama Bin Liner, Crawline Hanson, Ita Buttroach and Sir Roach a Lot.

The first race kicks off at midday, with 14 races throughout Australia Day and a minimum of 20 roaches per race.

Punters pay $5 to either enter their own thoroughbred cockroach or pick one supplied by the hotel – with all proceeds going to the charity Variety.

Numbers are painted on the backs of the contestants before they are all placed in a bucket or ‘marshalling area’.

The races are held on a circular track with the contestants released from the upturned bucket in the middle of the track and the first roach to reach the edge crowned the winner.

There are also steeplechase events where a circular fence — or garden hose — is used to enhance the spectacle and test the roaches’ stamina.

There are official rules to the races as approved by the Society of Cockroach Only Gaming (SOCOG), including a complete ban on flying and drug testing for performance enhancing substances.

Australia Day at The Story Bridge Hotel will also see a ‘Miss Cocky’ beauty competition, live music and a dunking machine.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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