Cloverdale man turns old bed racer into chicken coop

Aaron Grim (left), George Gunnik, and Bryan Grim push Morgan Grim in the team’s new bed racer down 176A Street during the 42nd annual Cloverdale Bed Race in 2019. Grim repurposed his old bed racer from 2018 into a movable chicken coop. (Black Press file photo)
Aaron Grim repurposed his old bed racer into a movable chicken coop. (Photo submitted)
Aaron Grim repurposed his old bed racer into a movable chicken coop. (Photo submitted)
Aaron Grim repurposed his old bed racer into a movable chicken coop. (Photo submitted)

It’s likely the most famous race in town.

The annual Cloverdale Bed Races sees numerous teams push a bed, loaded with one rider, up and down 176A Street in the downtown core.

The race has been going since 1977 and will run for the 43rd time May 15, 2020.

But what happens to all the old “racks” once their racing days are done?

Clayton’s Aaron Grim asked himself that question—wondering if there might be a bed racer graveyard somewhere.

But instead of tossing his old racing rack aside, the steel fabricator decided to repurpose the old carriage into something useful.

So after some twists and some tweaks, Grim added some plywood and some roofing paint and transformed his daughter’s old bed for a third time.

“I turned it into a chicken coop,” said a wide-smiling Grim. “I just had this crazy idea, and I thought it would be good for the yard.”

If the carriage wasn’t made into a coop, Grim said it would’ve went into a scrap-metal heap.

Grim said his repurposed racer is easy to clean and it’s easy to collect the eggs.

“I have always had chickens,” explained Grim. “And you get coyotes here. So, I thought it’d be safe off the ground. They can go down below. I can move it around. They get fresh grass every time I move it.”

Grim fashioned chicken wire around the base to keep the chickens in and unwanted animals out.

He said the idea for a movable coop just came to him one day in a eureka moment. So he pulled the coop together in about a month.

He retired the bed racer in the first place because it proved to be heavy and seemed to run slower than his competitors’ carriages. He wanted his team—the Canadian Reformed Cowboys—to be more competitive.

So he built a new bed racer from scratch, first choosing good wheels and then fabricating the frame.

“It wasn’t quite done last year, but we still raced with it anyway.”

Grim plans to paint his racer leather brown and install a saddle as the rider’s seat, to keep with the western theme of the race—a race that kicks off rodeo weekend in Cloverdale.

He said he started racing “just for fun and giggles and to do something a bit exciting, something out of the box.”

For the uninitiated, Grim says the race is a lot of fun. He encouraged anyone thinking about racing to gather a team together and join in.

“You have three people pushing one way and then three [different] people pushing back the other way. You need one rider.”

Cloverdale’s bed racing days began in 1977 when some members of the local RCMP squared off against members of the volunteer Cloverdale Fire Department. The two groups raced down the street in “a publicity stunt to build enthusiasm for the start of the annual Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair,” according the Cloverdale BIA website.

Grim has been racing annually in the event since 2015.

“The first couple of times I raced, I was the only guy with an actual bed. I just put wheels on my daughter’s old bed.”

He plans to stay in the race for the foreseeable future.

“I’ll keep racing until we beat Turkey’s [Party Makers]. Then I’ll retire. Turkey’s always wins (the race) every year.”

Grim said he doesn’t have any plans to repurpose anything else right now, but he said he is always pondering his possibilities.

“With my steel-fabrication skills, I’ve always got a thought to press something together,” he said. “I like to get out in the yard and grow stuff and invent things.”

To sign up for the 43rd annual Cloverdale Bed Race, visit cloverdalebia.com.



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

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