Off to the (cockroach) races with the NJPMA


August 25, 2016

DSC_0040On Thursday, Aug. 18, I was privy to a glimpse into the future of our nation. The winner of this year’s presidential election will be … *drumroll* … Hillary Clinton!

Hmm. Perhaps I’d be wise to unpack that statement a bit and inform you such a conclusion only really applies to those of you who believe in the clairvoyant powers of cockroaches.

Last week at New Jersey’s Rutgers University, the New Jersey Pest Management Association (NJPMA) held its 69th Annual Clinic, Trade Show and Clambake. You can read more about the event in my Roadtrip Roundup piece in the upcoming September issue of PMP. But in short, the event gave attendees the chance to earn credits attending lectures by A-list educational industry insiders, peruse a big-top tent full of pest management products and tools presented by dozens of distributors and manufacturers, eat an amazing meal, and be witness to the only competition that comes close to being as exciting as this year’s Olympics: the presidential cockroach race.

The annual race, which reportedly has a history of being accurate 84 percent of the time, took place in a long Plexiglas corridor/racetrack under the event’s main tent. After being outfitted with their electoral avatar (that is, after having the cartoony face of a presidential or vice presidential candidate affixed to their backs), the five racers (one of which was an undetermined third-party candidate) were gingerly placed in a clear plastic box at one end of the trap. And then — On your mark … Get set … Go! — the plastic sliding door was lifted and we were off to the races.

Phil Cooper gives one of the racers a pre-competition pep talk.

Phil Cooper gives one of the racers a pre-competition pep talk.

Though a sizable crowd gathered around the racetrack to witness the spectacle of the competition, I didn’t really hear anyone rooting for one roach or another by candidate name. (I guess it’s just that kind of election year.) Despite the enthusiastic, yet surprisingly unbiased spectators, the Hillary Clinton roach smoked all other competitors, blazing from one end of the track to the other (I’d guess about 6 to 7 ft.) in less than 20 seconds (!). The other cockroaches seemed decidedly confused about what event they’d signed up for, as they wrestled around one another getting nowhere fast.

We’re not exactly sure what this means for the future of America, although I am sure there’s a metaphor about politicians to be mined here, but I dare not. It was awful fun to watch, anyway.

The cockroach race is only one element that recommends the annual NJPMA event. To learn about the rest, flip to Roadtrip Roundup next month.

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