Updated: Monday, 16 May 2011, 2:37 PM MDT
Published : Monday, 16 May 2011, 10:22 AM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A new bar game in Albuquerque, involving goldfish and spray bottles, is attracting new customers and criticism.
Coach’s Bar and Grille owners said they started hosting goldfish racing last year. Frank Turk said it’s been such a success that they host tournaments with grand prizes at stake. Turk said the popularity of the game brings in between 20 to 30 on race nights just to participate.
“Like old folks and young folks are racing against each other,” Turk said. “Joking with each other.”
The setup does not cost much. All that’s needed is a couple of gutters filled with water and several goldfish.
As for the participants: There is little skill involved and no athleticism needed. Turk said the rules are easy; dump a fish into the water-filled gutter, squirt water at your raced and watch it swim to the finish line.
“When I blow the whistle - you both dump your fish in there and the only thing you can use is your squirt bottle,” Turk said.
Turk said they’ve had prizes as big as new bikes and flat-screen televisions.
However, not everyone thinks squirting water at a fish is fun. PETA spokesperson Gemma Vaughan said since the fish is so small squirting water from a spray bottle would probably feel more like blasting water at the fish. Vaughan said it could be hurting them.
“Most people don't know that fish are very sensitive animals and they do have complex nervous systems,” Vaughan said. “Fish might not be cute and cuddly like dogs and cats but these fish do feel pain just the same.”
PETA is also concerned after hearing drunken patrons are swallowing the live fish for added entertainment. Turk said it has happened only once at Coach’s.
“In the 30-some odd weeks that we've done this we've had one person drink the fish,” Turk said. “It's their own prerogative if they want to drink the fish. I’m not going to say no but it would be funny if they did.”
Turk said the fish are well taken care of. He said they’re fed, their fish bowl is cleaned and more than a dozen have survived since last year.
PETA said bar patrons should think twice before swallowing a goldfish for fun because the fish carry bacteria that can get humans sick.
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