West Main Street closed, eight decorated beds ready to race down the pavement, hundreds braving the heat to watch. All of it adds up to one thing: The 2019 Three Rivers Festival Bed Races.
About ten teams signed up, according to the festival’s executive director. However, eight competed as some backed out because of the high temperatures. However, that didn’t stop others from coming out to what Executive Director Jack Hammer calls a Three Rivers Festival staple.
“Well the Bed Race is a Three Rivers Festival heritage event, and it’s been going on since I was going to the festival when I was a kid,” Hammer said. “It’s about having a great time, and when back when you didn’t hear very often of the bed races, people used to show up here with a fold out bed your mom used to have or hospital gurneys, and today it’s turned into aluminum rims and aluminum frames but we sure do have a lot of fun every year.”
Hammer said having a perennial winner like DeBrand drives up competition registration.
“DeBrand has won a lot of times, and last year they lost, and a lot of people think ‘well DeBrands always win’ but there’s a lot of folks that step into it and they put those teams together that can beat DeBrands,” Hammer said. “It seems like they’e won a lot. Yes they have. They’re powered by chocolate.”
DeBrand won the 2019 competition as well. Team Captain Ryan Cavender said the secret is in continuity.
“Probably 25ish years, that bed’s been around,” Cavnder said. “Same bed, nothing different to it, probably the same wheels so I guess that’s the secret to our success.”
The competition allows for 16 teams to compete. With only eight competing this year, Cavender is ready for more competition.
“Come on out,” Cavender said. “Let’s get those four rounds, five rounds, fill it up and let’s make this thing great.”
If you’re interested in entering next year’s competition, Cavender said the Three Rivers Festival website makes it easy once registration is open. The Three Rivers Festival continues through the end of the week. A full list of events can be found here.