The annual bed races are set to kick off rodeo season in the traditional loud, colourful and wacky fashion.
When it started in 1977, it was an event that pitted the local RCMP against the fire department. Teams of cops and firemen would hurdle down 176A Street, pushing a person in a bed frame.
Today, not-for-profit organizations, businesses, schools, and groups of friends all compete, and the event has expanded into a series of community events that are too fun to miss.
The 2019 event will take place on Thursday, May 16, from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m., kicking off with a demonstration by world-renowned skateboarders, who are in town for the World Freestyle Round-Up Skateboarding Championships at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds during rodeo weekend.
After the showcase, kids will wheel down the street in the annual Western-themed bike parade. Any vehicle is welcome, whether it be bike, unicycle or wagon. All entrants will cruise around in front of the crowd, showing off their creations, before peddling to the main stage to see if they’re the lucky winner of one of the parade’s randomly drawn prizes.
This year, thanks to generous sponsors, there will be four $150 gift cards given out to bike parade participants, as well as some “rodeo-oriented” prizes, said Paul Orazietti, bed races organizer.
The street will then clear for the main event: an elimination-style bed race, where competitors run in heats until a winner is declared.
Each team consists of six pushers and one rider on the bed frame. Men’s teams push a woman, women’s teams push a man, and mixed teams can have whatever combination they wish.
There are prizes for the best men’s, women’s and mixed teams, as well as the best high school girls and boys teams.
The Bed Pan trophy, awarded to the winners of the men’s race, and the Chamber Pot, awarded to the women’s division, are on the line. And, in true traditional style, there will also be a prize for the best dressed team — costumes are encouraged.
While most bed racers take on the challenge for glory and bragging rights, the top female and male high school teams will also take home $500 prizes.
“The main event this year is that we will have a tossing of the gauntlet. The Cloverdale BIA will take on the Cloverdale Chamber,” said Orazietti, who serves as executive director for the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association (BIA).
“The Chamber is a little younger than we are,” he said, explaining that it might present a challenge.
If you work within the Cloverdale business community, it will be a race to watch.
The bed races take place along 176A Street between 57 and 58 Avenues. Make sure to get there early for a good seat.
Bed frames must be presented at 5:30 p.m. for inspection, and teams can also borrow a frame from the bed race committee, provided on the day of the race. Registration is open until Friday, May 10. For more information, and application forms, visit cloverdalebia.com.