Flashback Friday: Salamander racing at Lake Vermillion

Local News

LAKE VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — Warmer weather at the start of the week may have some looking ahead to swimming races, and weekends at the lake.

And in this week’s Flashback Friday we take you to Lake Vermillion to see a different kind of race.

Nestled away on the Western shore of Lake Vermilion is Erickson’s hideaway. No crowds, no hassles, just fishing and lizard loping

Open the gate and away they go. Well, sometimes if they need prodding, the only thing to use of course is a water pistol. It is strictly a one-handed sport. The other could be used for the finer things in life. The salamanders were brought originally with the idea they’d be used as bait. When that idea didn’t catch on, the owner decided to race them.

Do you think it’ll ever take over the Kentucky Derby? 

“Well, I kind of doubt that, but it might catch up with the Turkey races.”

This is no idle pastime. After the scores were tallied up, the winning salamander jockey received a $20 prize. What do you owe your success to? Trigger finger. Just use the squirt gun. Hit him in the back of the neck. Can it seem to work real good? Salamander racing may never rival sod rec park for fun and excitement, but it does draw a loyal crowd at Lake Vermilion.

Dennis Flanagan, KELOLAND News.

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