A cadre of luchadors are hurdling down Partition Street at breakneck-ish speeds as one of them sits in a bed frame and the others push. As Earth-conscious new-agers, they use one of the top 62 recycled pallet bed frames for their race-bed-frame. Angry twangs of old-timey music rattle off the facades of the buildings on a blocked off Partition Street – the melodies are the “Yakety Sax” to the race’s Benny Hill. They are closely pursued by a crew of dudes in grass skirts and sunglasses. The guys in the hula skirts hurl water balloons at the luchadors and blast them with pump-action water guns, but the plan to slow the team down does not work – they are, after all, the fiercest men of several different Mexican wrestling federations. It would be a fool’s errand to assume that they could halt the brave wrestlers with water toys. The luchadors finish the race before the grass-skirted dudes. In the stifling humidity and oppressive heat they pull off their masks to reveal that they are not Santa Negro or Blue Demon or even Blue Demon Jr. They’re no Mexican wrestling heroes at all. They’re simply the gringos of Team Lucha.
Though they certainly had the most spirit, Team Lucha didn’t take home the trophy. That went to the team from HITS, which included Tom Struzzieri Jr. and Sr., Brian Morris, Vinnie Card and Mark Wilson.
The concept of the Bed Races is a simple one. Bed frames are mounted on wheels and pushed down a straightaway by a five-man team. When they get to the station in the middle of the track, they must complete a test of skill, like sitting on a set number of water balloons or catching a set number of eggs.
Bill Yosh, who owns Rock Star Rodeo, ran the event. He had help from nearly a dozen volunteers.
“I had mentioned doing something fun like a soapbox derby – something fun, something cool that would bring people to the town,” says Yosh.
Marjorie Block, head of the Saugerties Historical Society, had already had it in mind to bring bed races to Saugerties, and worked in conjunction with Yosh to assemble the event. In its second year, the bed race is really picking up steam. The event hosted eight individual teams and attracted an impressive crowd, even in the face of a pre-race tempest and the concurrent post-tempest humidity.
“You can really tell how successful it was by how many people came out in spite of the weather,” says Yosh.
Even in mind-blowing, hair-froing heat and humidity, Saugerties came out to support what is fast becoming a tradition – whether the scores of folks who were hoping to get through the village without a lengthy detour like it or not!