By Herb Meeker
News Report Staff
Only a fool — or a visitor passing through — would think they were just going to race the beds in Teutopolis on Sunday.
No, those folks across the creek have a talent for tomfoolery. So when the crowds were lined up along the well-marked tractor pull course, there was some anticipation on what the Knights of Columbus organizers would put the bed racers through to win the Golden Bed Pan trophy.
The races came near the end of three days and nights of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Teutopolis Knights of Columbus Council 2874. The events included a picnic, parade, outdoor Mass and all kinds of games, food and entertainment for the community dedicated to faith and fun.
There was plenty of laughter to go around, even before the pushing teams drove their entries out onto the three lane course.
The canopied bed racer called “Can O Pee” drew some double takes when people sounded out its name a few times. (Of course, some people didn’t get the play on vowels even after repeating the team several times. Maybe they had downed too much Justice Juice that afternoon.)
The most popular costumes were the cartoon colorful team inspired by the Flintstones TV show. They were dressed as the prehistoric fraternal Water Buffalos with a two-stone roller power planted on a light frame with several hairy legs matriculating the vehicle down the course. Crosses and Wooden Shoes jerseys drew some applause for different teams. There were beds on wheels with flowing canopies and a chopper bed that rode low to the ground.
Before the bed racers kicked up any dust, they learned that the rules required some multi-tasking before the teams could finish the first heat.
First of all, there was the shot of goat’s milk. A race team member had to milk a sawhorse goat — aptly named after some Teutopolis Knights of Columbus Council officers and included headshots — to fill a shot glass. After guzzling down the glass of milk, the team then raced to a prayer kneeler. The rider jumped out and said a quick prayer while planting both knees on the kneeler.
These two challenges produced some bizarre moments. One nipple was pulled out of the milk bottle (as we said, these were sawhorse goats) that produced an “udderly” ridiculous moment. But all these mishaps whittled down the competition from 14 down the final two.
Fortunately, the Keystone Kops — from the 175th village celebration — were forgiving and quickly released the bed race organizers for allegedly stealing the bed race ideas and jokes from 2014. Claims that a payoff of 50 beer tokens was made to the Kops could not be proven by this reporter by press time.
The races were delayed briefly as bed race officials checked to see if one rider had left marks from both his knees on the kneeler pad. Haven’t they heard of instant replay?
The officials could get picky. When the riders were ordered to drink a can of elixir named after some kind of deer, a team was ordered to come back and pick up their empties. But they didn’t seem to mind some of the salty crackers that were dropped as the teams tried to gobble them down before tipping the elixir cans.
Trying to describe the last challenge for the final heat might require you cup your young child’s ears. It involved pogo sticks, a night gown and lighted cigars. This requirement of the finalists was inspired by a reference to “hot springs” years ago in Teutopolis.
Either way, the pogo sticks hopped high, the nightgowns on the riders rippled in the wind and the cigars were burning red as the T-town Soccer Dads racing team crossed the finish line ahead of the Bed Hawgs.
The teams members for the Dads were Jon Niebrugge, Brent Esker, Scott Esker, Andrew Wilkins, Bryce Webber and Ryan Jansen. The Hawgs included Raegan Drees, Kim Runde, Trent Schmid, Jen Thoele and Craig Seiler.
The Soccer Dads accepted the Golden Bed Pan with pride from the Knights on the racecourse. And a few minutes later, the skies opened up with an onslaught of rain. By that time, the crowd had exited laughing.