With the Kentucky Derby running today, many Louisville citizens are occupied with watching the race or at least celebrating it with home parties and other scheduled events. Excitement for the race has been building for weeks, as the city enjoyed the Derby Festival. One of the most interesting events of the Festival was the Stock Yards Bank Great Bed Race, held on April 30, the pre-race event that features less mud and more fluff in Louisville.
Teams sponsored by area corporations piloted beds along a figure 8 track designated by cones at Yum Center. Prior to the race, the 25 five-person team decorated the beds in keeping with this year's theme, Bedtime Stories. To facilitate steering, beds can shed some of their decoration during the race, but decking out the beds as part of the fun. Betting teams are paired off to run heats. The goal is achieving the best time, but teams pace themselves to avoid crashing at the crossing point of the figure 8. Of course, when beds crash, the crowd cheers and traffic cones go flying.
Needless to say, the beds that were raced were far cry from what's in your bedroom. Though the bed must incorporate standard full-size mattresses, they are mounted on a special fourâ€“wheeled frame, such as those made by Louisville's Knight School of Welding. The bed must be steerable, have exactly 4 wheels, and must follow all specs determined by the Kentucky Derby Festival. During the race, at least one team member must remain in the bed at all times.
The event is an actual race, with the fastest team proclaimed the winner, but beds can win as the Most Decorated, the Most Entertaining, the People's Choice, the Most Likely to Break Down, and Cone Eater. This year's winner for speed was once again Curtain Call Photo Booth, who has won the last four races, followed by West IP Communications and UAW/Ford Louisville Assembly Plant. The victors in the other categories were:
Best Decorated Bed: Bigelow Tea (Mama Teacup and Baby Teacups theme)
Most Entertaining: Rubbies Southside Grill & Bar (Snow White and Seven Dwarfs theme)
People's Choice: Rubbies Southside Grill & Bar
Most Likely to Break Down: Whole Foods Market
Cone Eater: Apple Valley Gang
As the winner, Curtain Call participated in the Pegasus Parade on May 3. The race is run for fun and charity, as money raised by the People's Choice voting is split between the Kentucky Derby Festival and local charities.
The Great Bed Race began in 1990 as "Bedlam in the Streets." First run in downtown Louisville in theater square it moved to broadband arena and ultimately Yum Center. As noted in the video, it is promoted as a â€œBuy Local Event.â€ This is good timing, given that the Buy Local First Fair is coming up on May 20th.