The Historical, International Bed Race of Preston, Idaho

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Paul Allen, CEO, saw a clip of the Preston International Bed Race and asked me to post it on our site. The race is a fun, family activity that will definitely go down in history (although you probably won’t see it on a vital record).

Watch the race!

Note: Downloading time may not be as fast as actual race time.

(You must have QuickTime or Windows Media Player to view the race. Anything that will play a .mov file will work.)

What is the International Bed Race?

It’s wild, it’s crazy and it’s also complete “bedlam”! It’s The Great Night Before Christmas International Bed Race!!! (You actually can change the sheets on a bed by the time you say the title of this race!) There’s great excitement, fun and competition at the race, which is made up of eight runners, two bed riders, sheets, robes and of course, the bed. You have to keep your eyes on the action, as it’s easy to miss a few movements because of the great speed in which the bed racers are traveling.

The International Bed Race has been an annual event in Preston, Idaho for more than 10 years. It is sponsored by the Preston Chamber of Commerce, under the direction of Tracie Ransom, Franklin County Medical Center Public Relations Director.

An average of eight bed race teams per year have competed in the last few years. In the early years of the championship bed race, teams numbered as high as 20. Business, civic groups, school groups, and families are encouraged to find a bed, grab 10 adventurous team members and hang on for the ride of their lives.

This year the championship bed race took place on November 25, 2006, in the middle of main street in Preston, Idaho. (The bed race always takes place the Saturday following Thanksgiving.)

Here’s how it works:

Each team consists of 10 people (eight bed pushers, and two riders). Two teams race down the street at the same time. The first half of the team (four pushers and one rider) race against the first half of another team. When the gun sounds the first four members of the team are responsible for putting the sheet on the bed. Meanwhile, the first rider puts on the nightgown, the helmet, and jumps on the bed. The four team members push the bed to the halfway point.

Next comes the exchange. The rider jumps off the bed, hands the helmet and the nightgown to the second rider. The second rider puts on both of these items and jumps on the bed. The four new bed pushers then push the bed, with the rider to the end of the block. The two teams with the fastest racing times compete in the final heat.

Bed Race Rules and Logistics:

  • Length of Course: Approximately one city block.
  • Start line, marked by the cones: Beds must be behind the cones. Runners and rider will be five yards behind the bed until the race begins.
  • For each violation of the rules the team will be given a five-second penalty.
  • Riders must have the helmet on, with the chin strap hooked, and be on the bed BEFORE the runners start pushing the bed.
  • Early departure will result in a violation.
  • Rider should hold on for dear life.
  • All runners must keep up with the bed. (Penalty – Five seconds)
  • The first runners can’t help with the change of clothes or of making the bed. That is the responsibility of the second group.

For complete race rules, or to enter the bed race for next year, call the Preston Chamber of Commerce office at 852-2703 or Franklin County Medical Center at 852-0137 (ask for Tracie.).

A Personal Note from Whitney Ransom (FCMC bed race member)

I have raced on the Franklin County Medical Team now for about five to six years. Each year we have taken first or second place. Our primary rival is usually the Hollingsworth team. (They have speed and know the secret to the exchange at the halfway point.)

Take a look at this video from last year or click on the picture below to see the Hollingsworth team race against the FCMC team. It’s pretty exciting. (Prepare yourself for a lot of screaming!)

This year the Franklin County Medical team took first place. (The Hollingsworth team did not compete…but I’m sure they will be back next year.) I’m a cross country runner, and this race is just as exhilarating, if not more exhilarating than any of the races in which I have competed. (I’m currently training for a marathon.) Of course if I mentioned our secrets to success I would probably get kicked off the team. So, I am just going to say that team work is very important. Every single person must perform his or her part and do it well. I love the International Bed Race, and I look forward to it every year. I hope you will join us next year.

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