No Teddy, no Taft for racing president auditions

George Washington President Race Auditions Nationals ParkThe Nationals held their annual racing president auditions Saturday at Nationals Park, but hopefuls looking to taste a first victory dressed as William Howard Taft left disappointed.

In continuing with a long-standing tradition, only the costumes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abe Lincoln were available for the auditions. Teddy Roosevelt, as usual, was reportedly on vacation, and contestants were told newcomer William Howard Taft is resting for the season.

With the Nats expected to draw record crowds this season, the part-time job is as coveted as ever. 58 candidates were invited to the tryouts from about 300 applicants. Previous jobholders must reapply annually.

Racing president auditions have become a Presidents Day weekend tradition in DC in recent years, but the 2013 tryouts were postponed to March as the presidents paid a special visit to Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills of South Dakota to celebrate Presidents Day this year.

Video: WTOP

Racing president auditions postponed as Teddy Roosevelt & William Howard Taft race to Mt. Rushmore

Racing president auditions will not be held on Presidents Day weekend this year.

The Washington Nationals announced this evening that they would break the tradition in order to promote their newly-conjured rivalry between racing president fan favorite Teddy Roosevelt and newcomer William Howard Taft.

The two presidents will take off Friday in a 4-day race to race to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, where they will meet up with their fellow racing presidents on Presidents Day.

The Nationals will promote the race as “Bill and Teddy’s Executive Adventure,” and ask fans on Twitter to use the hashtags #VoteBill or #VoteTeddy beginning Friday to pick their favorite. One supporter of each president will win a “private mascot appearance” with her choice.

The Nats had been mum about confirming the date for auditions, and now we know why. Ted and Bill’s road trip have pushed the auditions to Saturday, March 2.

Nationals Presidents Race AuditionsPresidents Race AuditionsApplicants have only until next Wednesday, February 20 to apply for the part-time summer position by sending a cover letter, resume and photo to entertainment@nationals.com.

As always, applicants must be adults between 5’7” and 6’ 6” in height, can handle wearing a 45-pound costume for hours, can commit to at least 35 home games, and can run 200 yards in 40 seconds or less (yes, that’s with the costume still on).

The Nationals typically select 50 to 60 applicants to be invited to auditions, in which they will race against each other, run a 40-yard dash, dance, and show their celebration skills.

For a sense of what’s in store, check out our video chronicle from last year’s auditions:

Video: 2012 Racing President Auditions

Nationals Presidents Race AuditionsPresidents Race AuditionsNationals Presidents Race AuditionsNationals Presidents Race Auditions2012 Presidents Race AuditionsYoung and old, male and female, a lucky few from every corner of the U.S. were invited to Nationals Park on Saturday for the sixth annual racing president auditions.

Nearly 300 people submitted applications for the coveted part-time summer positions. From that pool, only 57 received invitations to try out in person on Presidents Day weekend.

Incumbent presidents have no electoral advantage. Even veterans have to re-audition each year.

The extensive screening included panel interviews plus a range of skills tests which are done in-costume. “We are looking for people who are ready to have a good time,” said Nationals Entertainment Manager Tom Davis, but the day is also designed to weed out those who lack the speed, strength, and stamina to do it in a 45-pound costume.

“It’s like having a big hiking book bag on your back with a few cases of beer sitting on your shoulders,” said one contestant from Bethesda.

Applicants took turns donning the giant costumes, then completing a 40-yard dash followed by two back-to-back presidents races. Candidates were then immediately asked to show off their dance moves and strike a victory pose.

Participants got to choose which costume they wanted to wear, with a notable exception. Teddy Roosevelt has never attended the annual auditions.

“Teddy takes a vacation every year right around presidents day weekend,” said Davis. “I got a postcard from Teddy in Barbados.”

In keeping with tradition, the racing presidents packed up and hit the road to New York, where they will appear Monday during the annual New York Islanders Presidents Day hockey game at Nassau Coliseum.

The presidents will then go into hiatus as the newest batch of presidents prepare for opening day.

Full video report below.

Thanks to espnW’s Amanda Rykoff for sharing her footage of Abe’s tumble. Check out Amanda’s report from inside the George Washington costume at Saturday’s auditions.

Nationals Racing President Auditions Set for February 18

If you have presidential aspirations, it’s not too late to enter the 2012 race.

Washington Nationals Racing Presidents AuditionsAs expected, the Washington Nationals today announced their Presidents Race tryouts for 2012, to be held Saturday, February 18th at Nationals Park.

The Nats are looking for fun-loving team members between 5’7” and 6’ 6” in height, who can handle wearing a 45-pound costume for hours, and can run 200 yards in 40 seconds or less (yes, that’s with the costume still on).

Nationals presidents race tryoutsYou must also be available for at least 35 home games this year.

The Nationals have made the racing president auditions a Presidents Day weekend tradition. To score an invitation and your chance to run in the footsteps of giants, you must e-mail a cover letter, resume and recent photo to entertainment@nationals.com by February 10. Tryouts are closed to the public.

Nationals Racing President AuditionsIn previous years, candidates have been asked to race against each other, run a 40-yard dash, dance, and show their celebration skills during the tryouts, which are held rain or shine (Two years ago, auditions were held in deep snow).

For a sense of what’s in store, check out our video chronicle from last year’s auditions:

Video: 2011 Presidents Race Auditions

Nationals Racing President AuditionsRacing President auditions were held Saturday at Nationals Park, continuing
a 5-year tradition of assembling Mount Rushmore hopefuls for tests of speed, stamina, and silliness on Presidents Day weekend.

The Nationals received over 150 applications for the coveted president positions according to Entertainment coordinator Tom Davis, and 60 applicants were selected to receive
Nationals Racing President Auditionsinvitations to Saturday’s tryouts.

Candidates were asked to run a 40-yard dash in costume, compete against each other in two races, demonstrate their dancing and celebrating skills, and complete a panel interview with the entertainment staff.

For those who’d never run before in a 10-foot high, 45-pound costume, wind gusts of up to 60 mph added to the degree-of-difficulty; but the conditions
Nationals Racing President Auditionswere a welcome alternative to last season for returning candidates, who last year had to race in two feet of snow.

As in previous years, Teddy Roosevelt was absent from the proceedings, but the contestants were able to run in the traditional 2006-2010 period garb costumes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.

Our video chronicle of the day:

This year, three guest media candidates donned the famous costumes on Saturday, resulting in some great additional perspectives for PR fans. Danny Rouhier from WJFK 106.7 The Fan filed this video chronicle, Washington Post fitness columnist Lenny Bernstein added his outstanding perspective, and Dave Levy from WeLoveDC added this terrific report.

Deadline approaching for 2011 presidents race auditions

As pitchers and catchers prepare to report to Florida to try to nab one of the final spots on the Washington Nationals roster, the Nats’ entertainment team is working to finalize the mascot roster back here in DC. The team has set a deadline of next Friday, February 11, to receive applications. Selected candidates will receive invitations to participate in the 2011 racing president auditions on — when else? Presidents Day weekend.

Interested candidates should e-mail a cover letter, resume and recent photo to entertainment@nationals.com and include “2011 Racing Presidents” in the subject line.

Nats hold presidents race tryouts in the snow

Washington Nationals Presidents Race AuditionsThe Washington Nationals celebrated Presidents Day weekend by holding their annual racing president auditions Saturday at Nationals Park.

The team drew a record number of applicants from the DC area, and invited a select group to the ball park to run the bases and show off their entertainment skills.

Washington Nationals Presidents Race AuditionsThe recent record snowfall provided a hitch for this year’s applicants, as they were asked to run the full length of the presidents race in snow that reached 2 feet deep at the finish line. The conditions posed problems for more than a few racers who needed help up after falling in the snow.

Washington Nationals Presidents Race AuditionsFor the fourth consecutive year, Teddy Roosevelt was absent from the auditions. Applicants donned the 12-foot costumes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abe Lincoln, as they ran an indoor 40-yard dash, competed against each other on the snow-covered presidents race course, demonstrated their dancing and celebrating skills, and faced individual interviews with the entertainment staff.

We enjoyed meeting so many of the applicants as part of our first-ever video interviews (one of whom details his experience on his personal blog.

Update: Contestant Gwen Purdom details her experience in Washingtonian Magazine.

Audition photos by Ethan Ableman

Nationals Racing President Tryouts Set for February 13

Presidents Day weekend is approaching, and in Washington, DC, that means just one thing: It’s time for that now-annual tradition, the Washington Nationals Presidents Race tryouts.

Presidents Race TryoutsThe Washington Nationals will once again be holding auditions on Presidents Day weekend for those who want to compete as racing presidents George, Tom, Abe, or Teddy during the 2010 season.

The tryouts will be held on Saturday, February 13th at Nationals Park, and are closed to the public. To score an invitation and your chance to run in the footsteps of giants, you must e-mail a cover letter, resume and recent photo to entertainment@nationals.com with “2010 PRESIDENTS RACE” in the subject line.

Job requirements include being between 5’7” and 6’ 6” in height, and being able to run approximately 200 yards while wearing a 45-pound costume. You must be available for at least 40% of Nationals home games (a minimum of 33 games) plus the Nationals League playoffs and World Series, of course (What? I can dream.).

The Washington Nationals Racing Presidents at the White House Easter Egg RollThe part-time, seasonal job includes not only participating in the presidents race, but also posing for photos, signing autographs, and appearing at “selected outside events.”

This past year, appearances included stops at the White House, in inauguration festivities, traveled to New York to race on ice skates, visited a Wizards game, traveled with the team to Pittsburgh, and made a variety of promotional appearances around DC.

In previous years, the tryout regimen has included running against other candidates, dancing, and demonstrating celebration skills. Some coverage of last year’s event from WTOP:

Race photo by flickr user afagen
White House photo courtesy of Erik Metzroth

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