There is controversy in the world of dog-poop-removal professionals. Some swear by their shovels. Others prefer rakes. Some enjoy the ease of a broom and dustpan or a pair of extra-long tongs. Then there are the mavericks: a few brave souls who rely on modified log-scooping equipment they've devised themselves in secret underground labs.
Which tools pick up waste the best, and which are the fastest? That's the question that will be answered at the "Pow Wow of Pooper Scoopers," a national convention for businesses that specialize in cleaning yards full of Fido's fungoes.
Apparently it's not just bowling and gooey butter cake that makes our town the best: St. Louis is also home to Yucko's, one of the nation's most prominent pet-waste-removal businesses. Yucko's received attention in the Riverfront Times two years ago [Adam Pitluk, "Deep Doo-Doo," March 22, 2000], when we reported on their graphic advertising techniques, which drove some community leaders to distraction. Yucko's was asked to change its giant ads, displayed in bus shelters and elsewhere, depicting a big brown cartoon turd and a grinning pooch, along with the phrase "Professionals in Turd-Herding." The company's clever rejoinder, ads with big "CENSORED" bars over the offending offal, smoothed the wrinkled brows of Bi-State officials.
Now Yucko's has organized the first convention for the industry. Representatives from more than 30 businesses dedicated to making your yard safe for touch football will converge to compare notes and scoopers. On Saturday, the public is invited to witness one of the most unusual races we're ever likely to see: an outdoor poop-pickup contest featuring the Mario Andrettis of the scoop-for-speed set. Yucko's chief Debbie Levy reports that event planners have not decided whether actual canine remainders or plastic facsimiles will be used in the race. She also warns that some of the competitors plan to use their hands (in rubber gloves, right?).
"That's what a turd-herder does best," says Levy. "They're gonna have to show us their best shit."