Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nuns Naperville Bed Race

Nuns Naperville Bed Race

Nuns Pull Off Another Victory in Last Fling’s Bed Race

Naperville's tradition brings out community members to support their favorite bed racers.

Wheels of all sizes spun furiously between bales of hay as bed racers dashed toward the finish line at the Last Fling’s Bed Races. On Saturday, part of the parking lot at Naperville Central High School was transformed into a two-lane, 50-yard race track, complete with chalk-drawn start and finish lines.

Eight teams from various Naperville businesses and organizations participated in this year’s event, each with a cart creatively decorated to display the team's fighting spirit. Most of the beds looked like decked-out race carts that simply happened to have an air mattress where a seat should be.

The Toys For Tots team, organized by Kathy Wright of the Naperville Business Alliance, designed their bed to look like Santa’s sleigh, and their team photographer even dressed up as jolly St. Nick.

“We came up with the idea of it being a sleigh as exposure for Toys For Tots, which is a charity organization with the Marines where they help out with Christmas gifts for needy children,” Wright said.

Even the blazing sun couldn’t diminish the energy of the competitors before the race began.

“Moms are faster than nuns,” Jeannie Coe, a member of the Naperville Moms Network team, joked before running a few practice dashes with the team’s race-car-shaped bed. “It’s our first year, and this is going to warn everybody about how awesome we are. Next year, we’ll take them all down.”

Racers competed in heats under single elimination, and spectators lined the sides to cheer enthusiastically as well as discuss the engineering of each particular bed. The softness of the mattresses belies the potential danger of the sport, which was exhibited when Santa was accidentally bowled over by one of the competing beds during the race as he was taking photographs. Fortunately, he emerged unharmed from the incident.

The competition heightened as the two judges, Bev Frier and Patrick Skarr, had to rely on a photo finish to determine the winner at one point.

Nuns on the Run, organized by St. Patrick’s Residence, took home the first-place trophy, thus defending their title as reigning champions for one more year. For tips on strategy, Tom O’Donnell, a former runner for the team, said, “Everybody has to be in sync, with good teamwork."

Not everything was about winning, as the judges also handed out the Creativity Award to the lemonade-stand-styled bed crafted by the Young Professionals of Naperville, and the Spirit Award to the Big Yellow Box team put together by Christian Community Church, Naperville Campus.

In the end, Frier noted, the Bed Race is simply a way to build community. “It’s a real fun family event,” she said.