Organizers of the Great Bug Race in Florida said the Palm Beach Atlantic University fundraiser offers a $100 prize for the "coach" with the fastest insect.
Fred Browning, an assistant physics professor at the West Palm Beach, Fla., university, said cockroaches, ants, beetles and grasshoppers are allowed to race in six-bug heats around a pair of concentric circles, but flying insects and bugs likely to attack the others are not permitted, the Palm Beach Post reported Wednesday.
"Sometimes they run straight and sometimes they run backwards," Browning said of the racing bugs. "And sometimes they just crawl up people's pants."
Ray Waldner, a biology professor who founded the event in 1982 as a science club fundraiser, said the race was so popular that the school has staged it every year since.
"This event just sort of blossomed because it's so unique," he said. "And a little gross."