A little corporate espionage might be in order for anyone planning to enter the 5th Annual Slumberland/Rotary Bed Race next fall. Getting behind the big red curtain at Wightman & Associates of Benton Harbor for a peek at the psyche and engineering prowess might be the only way to dethrone the amazing squad of bed-racing aficionados who were contenders in year one but have never looked back. Team Wightman re-claimed the crown that has been in their trophy case for the past two years and now returns following last night's three-peat performance along the lake bluff in St. Joseph.
The red herd galloped to victory heat-after-heat against all other competitors, leaving them in the dust in every single race they were engaged in. Due to the odd number of entries — eleven — Wightman & Associates drew a bye in the first round thanks to their championship role.
Second place finishers last night were from the Starks Family Funeral Homes in the region racing in memory of Tracey Starks who succumbed to breast cancer. The third place team was the team from Abonmarche Consultants of Benton Harbor.
As has become tradition, a bed pilot, or rider, is pushed down the course by four wheel-haulers who race a stretch of Lake Boulevard along Lake Bluff Park in St. Joseph. At the end of the course, the rider has to jump out and perform a skills test such as tossing bean bags or getting a ball into a bucket. Upon successful completion of the skills test, the rider jumps back aboard and the wheel-haulers race back toward the finish line in each heat. The race is always a double-elimination, so every team races at least twice during the match.
There are actually two trophies up for grabs each year — one for the race winner and another for the team that raises the most money for youth programs of the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Club and for the Slumberland 40 Winks Foundation and Child & Family Services of SW Michigan.,
Emcees for the fun-filled event were Brock Havens of the Plan B Morning Show on WIRX Radio and Matt Malone, morning show host on Y-Country Radio. Judges for the races other awards of Most Creative entry and Most Spirited team were Y-Country Radio Star Lindsay Kay and Kristen Havens of Mid-West Family Broadcasting.
The judges selected Lakeland Building Services as the Most Creative entry in the race for their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme, and Lakeland HomeHealth as the Most Spirited team on the block, for sideline cheerleaders urging on their entry based on the age-old child's game "Operation."
Other teams that entered the race beyond the top three finishers came from the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Club, Lakeland HomeCare, Lakeland Building Services, The Boulevard Inn & Bistro, St. Joseph FOP Lodge #96, Countryside Academy, and The Home Depot.
The next generation for Wightman & Associates presents the $1,200 check…
Third Place Abonmarche during the parade lap before the official start…