Good morning, Netizens...
In this morning's picture we see participants of the second annual Red Bull Soapbox Derby compete with their rolling hospital bed in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday. (June 01, 2008) The reason I chose this picture was because about twenty-five years ago, while suitably oiled and primed with some of Colorado's favorite adult beverage, some friends and I decided one blustery spring day to hold the first annual barstool race in Central City, Colorado. We had to buy quite a few brewski's for the Town Fathers in order to get them to comply, but eventually they were faced with the decision to either pass out and fall off the barstools where our proposal was being considered or accept our offer as good for tourism.
You may think I jest, but browse to http://racingbarstool.com/, one of the many resources for dedicated bar stool racers in modern times. In the parlance of the times, we have come a long way, baby.
Our rules were pretty funny, given how bar stool racing has apparently advanced since then. The bar stools all had to come from a working bar in Central City and must have seen service at least once within the previous 10 years as a regular bar stool in Central City. The completed units could be no larger than the outside perimeter of the normal bar stool legs. It could be motorized or not; how it was driven was entirely up to the contestant. You could have a steering wheel, of course, so you could steer the damned contraption, and that was it! That first year, the motors ranged from a Stihl chainsaw motor to a 15 horsepower Briggs and Stratton power plant engine that someone had surreptitiously “borrowed” from the U.S. Forest Service nearby.
It was a truly fine frolic, I must admit. Half the participants never made it through the first turn, and by the third and final turn of the race, there were less than a third of the original 30-some contestants still in the race. Although I did fall on my butt twice during the race, I did manage to finish in last place. No trophies for this kid, uh uh. I did merit a really sore behind and a hangover that lasted until Monday.
The sad part is, look as I might this morning, I could find no references to our Early Spring bar stool races anywhere online. I would speculate that with Central City now a big-time gambling town, people probably just found other sources of entertainment.