From the annual Kentucky Derby Festival held in Louisville, Kentucky, to the Fall Foliage Charity Bed Race in Adams, Massachusetts, bed racing has long been an entertaining staple of community celebrations across the country.  But these races are not as simple as rolling a queen mattress down the street.  Teams work hard all year to build specialty racing beds and train to become the fastest bed racers in their communities.

Racing beds need to be light, so beds designed for sleeping really don’t compete in these races.  Instead, racing beds are often made of PVC pipe or metal.  Both materials are less heavy than wood, but welded metal racing beds have a better chance of making it to the finish line.  Welding a racing bed is an expensive undertaking, so many teams now involve corporate sponsors to fund the teams.

Corporate sponsorship not only funds the building of the beds and teams, but also works as a method of charity fundraising.  Companies that sponsor bed racing teams usually receive a lot of positive publicity within the communities that hold bed racing events.  Of course, each bed must have a mattress, which are then decorated in parade float style.  Corporate sponsors often have logos and company names incorporated into the decoration designs.

Every community bed race has its own list of racing bed specifications and regulations.  Acceptable materials are listed in these regulations, as well as measurement guidelines for the bed platforms, mattresses, and decorations.  Most every bed racer must include a mattress, and most bed racing events also include rules stating that certain types of bedding must also be present, including pillows and blankets.  From there, racing teams are allowed to get creative in the design and decorating of their racers.

Some bed races allow the beds to be steered with built-in steering wheels.  Some allow pulling of the beds, though most bed races only allow pushing the bed racers from behind.  The number of team members that are allowed to compete in the events also varies from race to race.  Though many bed racing rules around the country are similar, each race has its own rules that must be abided by, lest the bed or the team are disqualified.

Charity events, corporate sponsorship, and other reasons aside, bed races happen in many communities because they are fun.  People love taking their children out to watch the bed races and enjoy a festival atmosphere.  Not to mention that after watching the movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks, most people would enjoy a ride on a comfortable mattress bed racer.

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