Servers compete for big money in annual Waiters Race

Posted at 5:46 PM, Oct 14, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-14 17:46:45-04

Buenos Aires' famed Avenida de Mayo was transformed into a race track of a different kind on Saturday, October 13, as waiters from across Argentina descended on their capital for the annual Waiters Race.

The Parisian-style race saw hundreds of contestants from the South American country's top hotels, restaurants and clubs compete in a 1 mile track in the heart of the capital.

With their trays loaded with a two bottles and a glass, waiters competed in three different race categories, Free Waitress, Under-45 Waiters and Waiters Over 46.

Winding along Avenida de Mayo and around the iconic Plaza de Mayo, competitors struggled to keep the contents on their trays from dropping.

"I thought it was the same I'm used to at my work but here it's in the open air. The wind can actually play against you and for some blocks my body was trembling, and yes my stamina, my legs, could not give me more to a point that at the last lap turn I run on my last breath," said competitor Federico Rodriguez.

Competitors showed off their speed and agility while vying for a cash prize of about $6,000 U.S. dollars in prize money.

Win or lose, waiters said the competition was all in good fun.

"It's the third time that I have participated. Basically, I do it to compete and to have a great time. I don't have great experience carrying the tray and at some point it is complicated for me during the race. But the truth is that I had a good time, and I came to have just that, a good time," said competitor Karina Acosta.

Organised by associations of hoteliers, restauranteurs and gastronomers in Argentina, the race has become the annual fixture for Buenos' Aires' waiters and waitresses.

Argentina's Waiter Race is based on a traditional race that began in Paris in 1904 to recognise the hospitality industry. The concept has since grown in popularity and now takes place in hundreds of cities around the world.