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“It’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever seen.” That’s the tagline by self-appointed Crab Racing Commissioner Tim Jardas.  Since 1984, he has hosted his unique style of hermit crab racing blended with comedy at the Crow’s Nest in the Tween Waters Resort on Captiva.

Every Monday and Thursday night, Commissioner Tim hosts two shows as part of Sunburned Willie’s Half-Baked and Washed-Up Crab Races (previously known as NASCRAB Thoroughbred Racing).  The first show is PG style for kids and families at 6:00, with a salty R-rated presentation for those 21 and up at 9:00.  Participants pay $5.00 to pick the a crab from the bowl, hoping to find one that is lively and can move fast.  Think of a fast name for your crab (No slow names accepted and you can’t name it after yourself.) and be ready to cheer for your crab as they race from the center of the race table to across the circular finish line (because It’s too hard to make them all go in a straight line).  Throughout the event, the Commissioner roasts the crowd in what he describes as “an eating, drinking, interactive comedy event.”

After a couple of preliminary heats, a final race determines the winner of the evening.  First, second, and third place winners split half the purse collected.  The other half is donated to the United Way, which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the races over the years.  Other prizes and gifts are awarded during the show.  Also, you can purchase a souvenir T-shirt in multiple styles and designs at a modest rate.

Without giving too much away, here are a few basic rules:

1)      No leaning any part of your body over the table and finish line.

2)      No banging the table, top or bottom.

3)      No calling out the names of the crabs or their place.  The Commissioner determines all winners.

4)      No whistling or blowing at any crabs.

5)      NO POINTING! (Most often broken rule)…Violators of any of these rules, especially the last, will be squirted with water!

Tim’s humor and interaction with the crowd have made him a long-standing feature, so much so that he is often requested to bring the races to other events and venues.  He’s proudly stated that he’s performed for “actual rocket scientists and brain surgeons” and has travelled to other parts of the country (as far as New England) in the off-season.

There are many crab races, but there is only one Sunburned Willie’s/NASCRAB.  Be sure to enjoy this experience while vacationing on Sanibel this summer.  Book Direct and Save!