Presidents Race on ice tomorrow following Presidents Day weekend auditions

A record number of contestants showed up at Nationals Park today for what has quickly become an annual Presidents Day weekend ritual in Washington, DC — the Washington Nationals presidents race auditions.

Seventy finalists — 20 more than the previous year — were invited to compete for the approximately 20 open spots on the Nationals’ mascot team.

As was the case at last year’s auditions, Teddy Roosevelt failed to make an appearance (he is “in training” for the upcoming season, says Nationals Entertainment Coordinator Tom Davis), so the finalists took turns racing and performing as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. As always, SBF at the Nats320 Blog has a fantastic recap of the days activities, along with more photos. There was a nice video story over at WLJA News, and the following from WTOP News and The Washington Times, respectively:

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8kRyzTTG-4]

Lost in the excitement over today’s auditions has been the news that tomorrow, Presidents Day, will mark the first-ever Nationals presidents race on ice. Members of the Nat Pack are heading to Long Island, New York for a running of the presidents race on skates between periods of tomorrow’s hockey game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m counting on Teddy to show up for that spectacle, but hope he doesn’t injure himself before we even get to spring training!

Photo courtesy of Nats320

Your chance to be a Washington Nationals racing president!

Presidents RaceJust as they did last year, the Washington Nationals will be holding auditions on Presidents Day weekend for those who want to compete as racing presidents George, Tom, Abe, or Teddy during the 2009 season at Nationals Park.

The tryouts will be held on Sunday, February 15th at Nationals Park, with registration beginning at 10:00am. Candidates will be asked to run, dance and show their celebration skills during the presidents race auditions, which are closed to the public. If you’d like to score an invitation, you may e-mail a cover letter, resume and recent photo to entertainment@nationals.com. The deadline for applications is Monday, February 9 at 5:00pm.

In announcing the auditions, the Nationals said they are looking for “energetic individuals, between 5’7” and 6’ 6” in height, with the ability to run from right field to home plate while wearing a 45-lb costume, and who are available for at least 40% of Nationals home games” (that’s a minimum of 33 games… plus playoffs, you know, for us dreamers).

Teddy wannabes note that the roles rotate between the staff, so don’t expect to get a chance to choose your favorite prez; and don’t be surprised if you are asked to fill in as the occasional giant panther or banana. Still, winning this gig could land you in some exclusive territory beyond just the ball park. This past year, the Nationals racing presidents made multiple appearances at the White House and the inaugural festivities, among other plum assignments, though posing in a 12-foot tall costume might not quite be the same as getting invited to a state dinner.

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