Once again old age and treachery has conquered youth and vitality as the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce defended their championship at the 7th running of the Soldotna Lions Club annual Bed Race. In the beginning the concept, created by Soldotna Lion Tim Musgrove and Ed Sleater, lent itself to the more than middle age group of the Club who were looking for a unique event to raise some money for their community programs. Musgrove himself was the original winner of the event, napping while his wife pushed his bed across the finish line. As the new millennium proceeded and the comic relief of the event gained in notoriety, being dubbed “The Last Great Laugh of the summer,” by a local radio personality, students from Kenai Peninsula College decided to pick up the challenge. They built a custom bed racer at the KPC metal shop and christened it, “Fast Track to the Future,” easily winning the title as the fastest bed in the West. The new design sent the graying crews back to their headboards, but the KPC students held bragging rights to the “Fastest bed in the West,” for the next three consecutive years remaining untouched by the graphite and bicycle wheels added to the gurneys, wheel barrows, and plywood of the other well seasoned challengers.
Then in 2006 Lion Ed Sleater decided that enough was enough and with advanced technology acquired from the internet and a polyethylene drum he found, created the “Too Cool” sprint bed for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce bed pushers. “As I predicted old age and treachery would overcome youth, skill, and vitality,” said Sleater. Sleater’s personal entry however, was involved in a terrible crash during the race a year ago and receiving damage which he was still trying to repair at race time last Saturday. “I couldn’t even get it to the starting line this year, but congratulations to the Kenai River Brown Bear hockey players that pushed the ‘Too Cool’ to a repeat victory for the Soldotna Chamber, we know this event is a huge boost to our local economy and is probably why the Mattress Ranch guy opened an outlet down here,” said Sleater.
The winning bed racers included 4-year-old sleeper Josh Riley and bed pushers Aaron Nell and Jed McGlasson of the Kenai River Brown Bears, “It was pretty exciting this was our first bed race and we didn’t know what to expect when our coach told us to show up here and it was all fun,” said McGlasson. In an all out effort to regain the title and its bragging rights, KPC students pulled out all stops recruiting the man of steel himself Superman! “No flying is allowed as you know in a bed race and while I’m faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive we can honestly say that Truth, Justice and the American way was the real winner here today because we had the most fun even though we didn’t cross the finish line first,” said Chris Pepper, alias mild mannered news reporter Clark Kent, alias Superman. (Photojournalist’s note: It appeared Superman substituted long underwear for his spandex tights, which might have contributed to the KPC student failure as well as to global warming.) The KPC loosing team of Superman, sleeper Rachel Atkinson, and bed pusher Jeff Beerman said they would be training for next year’s event by sleeping in a bed every night, rather than on the usual floor due to the lack of resident housing at KPC. “It was so cool having the caped crusader pushing me in bed all the way down the tack, I didn’t sleep a wink because I was giggling so hard,” said Atkinson.
So as visions of bed racing dance through their heads and another Great Laugh becomes history, members of the Soldotna Lions Club will continue to award scholarships and provide services to children in our community as needed.
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