Due to the arrival of the newly discovered COVID-22 variant, one of the most anticipated animal races at UCCS was forced to move online on April 1.
The competition — which was conducted over Microsoft’s new online racing platform specifically for armadillos, ArmadilGO — featured just about every different kind of armadillo. Different types from “nine-banded” to “dasypus” to “long and gross” were represented at the starting line.
The Armadillo Racing Club, who meets every Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the creepy basement of the library, have been preparing their furry creatures for this contest for over six months, coaching them into winning animals since September.
Despite an expected turnout of just over 31,000 people in UCCS’s coliseum, the virtual crowd was nowhere to be found, with only fourteen total people tuning in to watch.
“Terrible fanfare. You can really tell the real NARC (National Armadillo Racing Competition) fans from the fake ones,” said a fan who preferred to remain anonymous due to utter embarrassment and hopes of retaining his dignity.
Keeping count of who was in attendance, there were six fans, three referees in case the armadillos began to talk trash one another, a married couple, a philosophy student who entered the wrong code, a golden retriever and a sobbing student who only joined because he got last place in his fantasy football league.
Alas, the finale was still set to begin, with 40 different camera angles being displayed from the webcams of Amazon Fire TVs, provided by supreme ruler of UCCS, Chancellor Jeff Bezos. The 10 armadillos were ready to roll their way to the finish line.
In a preceding meeting, the club members assigned the armadillos numbers instead of names, in an attempt to make sure none of the armadillos felt left out by having a less cool name than the other. Hey, you would be upset too if your competitors were named “Speedy McGavin” and “The Dillo Duster” while you were stuck with “Kevin.”
As the armadillos waddled to the starting line, their coaches were standing only about 100 yards away, despite the common knowledge that armadillos can run at nearly 30 miles per hour.
“We had to do away with the original distance of five miles because of the new online format,” said founder and commissioner Billy Coit Jr. “That being said, the decision to get rid of the rings of fire, snake diving pit and weapons vault were also influenced by the virtual audience and their potential confusion.”
The armadillos took their marks. The line judge fired off his starting pistol to commence the race, and half of them immediately got spooked by the loud noise and scurried under a nearby rock formation.
With the remaining armadillos hustling down the straightaway track, another pair of armadillos got distracted by the high-resolution Amazon Fire TV, seamless in integrating live TV and streaming channels on one simple device!
It was discovered later that both armadillos were paid off by Bezos in an advertising campaign, giving each animal $10,000 to throw the race, although neither of them has any concept of monetary value, rendering the payoff useless.
It was coming down to the homestretch between the final three animals: armadillos One, Four and Nine
With just about twenty yards to go, Four overtook Nine and One by shifting into its shelled form and rolling its way across the finish line, taking the victory in what was called by many as the “armadillo race of the century.”
Number Four set school records for armadillo racing victories, with the first and only win, and sets a high mark for next year’s race.