Monday at the Bed Races…..

Bed Races 1

The Great Bed Race entered its 20th year as a signature event in the Kentucky Derby Festival, Monday as 40 teams in two divisions competed in two bed heats around a 600 foot track in Louisville’s Broadbent Arena. Each pair of teams raced to the halfway point changing lanes to balance the distance. The teams were more racing the clock than their heat-mate as the best time in each division would be crowed winner. Over 4,000 spectators showed up for the event.

The beds were hand constructed and had to support a queen-sized mattress. The beds were pushed around the arena using a 5-person team, a driver on the bed and four pushers. In addition to building a bed that could compete on the track, each team had to “style” their bed in a separate competition. The themes had to fit the overall Kentucky Derby Festival theme, which is “Road Trip to Fun”. Beds were decorated with themes like a Roman Chariot, a ’50’s classic “Grease” car, a military Humvee and a station wagon complete with music from National Lampoon’s “Vacation”.

The teams were paraded around the floor at the arena in an opening ceremony and then the track was cleared as the teams stripped their beds down to their competition frames, donned their protective helmets and raced in two bed heats.

The crossover point has historically led to a lot of wrecks and this race would be no different as at least two teams collided at the crossover. Others almost wiped out only to be slowed down by the large orange traffic cones being drug the remaining length of the track.


In the past many teams have also crashed out of turn three as they were going too fast to make the turn and ended up in the concrete breezeway of the arena. This year, no accidents happened in turn three (which is good since I was shooting from the breezeway in turn 3).

Holdaway Medical took 1st place in the Fun Division turning in a 30.02 second time over Raytheon Company’s 30.78. In the Championship Division Curtain Call Photo Booth nipped the Ford Louisville Assembly Plant by 0.56 seconds with a 27.31 second time.

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  1. Pingback: Our Kentucky Derby Festival Vacation Comes to an End. | The Travelling Photographer on June 7, 2009

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