A Bastille Day celebration was in full swing at Saturday evening and it all began with the third annual Bastille Day Parisian Waiters’ Race, a 300 yard course through the restaurant’s parking lot.
Per the rules, the seven Conejo Valley restaurant contestants were to run the course while balancing bottles and glasses of water on a tray.
According to Robyn Britton, Ladyface’s office manager, the race was originally called "course de garcons de cafe."
"There are currently over 750 races in more than 50 countries around the world as listed on waitersrace.com, the official website of the international waiter's race community," added Britton. This year, as an added bonus, the race is an internationally sanctioned event.
Britton explained that Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille Prison on July 14, 1789, which is seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation and considered by many as the start of the French Revolution.
A growler, or Ladyface Ale bottle to go, was given to the first, second and third place finishers along with a gift certificate that could be used to fill the growler with one of Ladyface Ale's brews. "If they are over 21," said Britton. "If not, they can trade it in for a hat."
Fransisco Canto, a Ladyface employee and first-time race runner, was looking confident. He told Patch that his strategy was to tuck his pant legs into his socks to create aerodynamic efficiency and to avoid tripping while running the course. "I think I can win because I am the best," he said.
Jean-Luc Nouzille, husband of proprietress, Cerena Nouzille, voiced his disagreement.
"I'm not going to let him win," he said "We go after each other for soccer."
But when pressed further for details about his strategy, Nouzille said, "He is definitely better than I am."
Contestant Ben Weeks, representing the , said he thought his odds of winning were, "better than last year," but only because last year’s winner, Adam Jasso, wasn't there yet.
"I'm planning on taking advantage of his absence," he said.
But while the runners were contemplating their odds, the group began to grumble as a Jasso arrived and zipped into an open parking spot.
Racer Laura Papenfus, from Mama Rita's Catering, entered the race to "beat all of these guys."
Once the race began, to the strains of the William Tell Overture, Jasso quickly moved to the head of the pack. By the second turn, he had a commanding lead. As Jasso entered into the straight-away, his finish was dominant leaving all other comers in the dust.
Finishing a distant second was Justin Haught, from , followed by Jean-Luc Nouzille, who graciously excused himself from the official finish as he is “family.”
While the other contestants ran at top speed, Canto's slow and steady strategy proved to be effective. A number of the runners failed to finish the race due to dropped bottles or the illegal use of hands. Canto was the only entrant to not lose a bottle or spill his cup of water, illustrating that slow and steady can win the race.