Furnace Creek 508 Totems

We don't use numbers to identify racers in the Furnace Creek 508. How boring! How impersonal! Furnace Creek 508 uses animal totems to identify riders. Several 508 racers entered the race primarily to receive their totem. On more than one occasion, the race director was offered the full entry fee just to assign someone a totem, but without the intention of starting the race. (Such requests are turned down. You have to start the race to make the totem permanent! In fact, effective retroactively in 2009, totems are NOT permanent unless the racer finishes.)

Each racer may request, or will receive, an animal totem as part of the application process. Be sure to memorize your totem; this is how you and your crew will identify yourselves to time stations and race officials. Team or rider totem must be visible and easily legible (in words, not only pictures) on all four sides of the support vehicle. Lettering must be 6 inches high. Do not block windows. Solo signage should not use the word "TEAM." Signage for 2x teams must state "2X" and signage for 4X teams must state "4X." You may order custom totem signs from Banners and Signs Graphx (Use this Pdf form to order) for pick-up at the race.

Returning racers will have the same totems as before. New riders may request a specific animal totem when they submit their entry form, however only Chris Kostman can officially assign animal totems, following a special ritual ablution and spiritual practice. Totems, whether nickname, mascot, alter ego, second identity, or spirit guide, are permanent and non-transferable.

To request a totem, be sure to study the "taken totems" list (below) and the current roster to see what is already taken. If you need some help thinking of a totem, consider these useful websites:

Animal pictures archive

List of adjectives and animals

To see an online list of Every Totem Ever Assigned, check out our handy-dandy Online Totem Database. This also includes all results and bio info for each entrant throughout the history of the race!

Guidelines for Requesting Totems

  • A degree of decorum and seriousness is expected in all totem requests. Neither overly or unnecessarily zany totems, nor crude, condescending, or negative totems will be allowed.
  • Totems should be as short as possible: one or two words prefered.
  • Totems should be in English.
  • Totems should have no unnecessary modifiers (for ex: If "Totem Z" has not been taken, do not request "Green Totem Z."
  • Totems should preferably be "real animals." Well-known cartoon or literary animal characters may or may not be accepted. "Invented" or "made-up" animals are not allowed, unless the totem-requester has a strong personal history or association with the requested "made-up" totem (Example: 2005 solo winner Kenny Souza's totem is "Fast Truck Gecko," the name his son gave to his favorite animal toy.)
  • Totems created by combining two real animals (or previously assigned totems) together may, or may not, be accepted.
  • If a totem has been used for a 2x or 4x relay team, it may be later used by one member of that team as his or her solo totem, as long as his or her teammate(s) do not protest. (So far, no fights have broken out over who "owns" a totem.) Also, if a former team totem is being used as a solo totem, that same totem may not be used as a team totem (by the former teammates) in the same year as it is used as a solo totem.
  • Totems may have a sponsor name as part of their name, subject to the race director's approval, but that sponsor name will be dropped when that totem is later added to the permanent Online Totem Database on the website (usually a few months after the race). Sponsor or other additional / descriptive totem words / names may not include the names of other cycling or endurance events or their promoters.
  • Totems may not be "reserved" except under unusual circumstances. The only way to "reserve" a totem is to sign up for the race and request it before someone else does. Another way to "reserve" a solo totem is to enter with a 2x or 4x team under that totem; that takes the totem "off the market" and effectively reserves it for one of those team entrants to use later in a different team, or solo, configuration.
  • Taken totems may be reused by any veteran of that team in later races, as long as there is continuity of at least one temmmate each year.
  • The race organizers reserve the right to re-assign any totem(s) previously used by entrants who DNF'd the race. (Effective 2009, any totem used which has not been used in the three previous 508s AND which was originally used by an entrant who has never officially finished the race, may be used again by a new race entrant.)