Sometimes, you just have to have fun, even in Village government. When the St Patrick’s Day Parade started years ago, I challenged neighboring municipalities to compete in the Paddy Wagon Race that was part of the festivities. And then I went to our Department of Public Works – who already think I’m crazy – and told them I needed a race bed. They were very patient with me as I went over the specifications provided by the event organizers, but I think they actually practice not rolling their eyes whenever I show up in the shop with a great idea. Village Council gave their blessing, and Trustee Kurt Mohrmann donated a bed frame and mattress to the cause. The DPW guys got to go to the junkyard and use welding equipment which made them very happy. I pitched in with mad spray-painting skills and other decor.
We had some minor design and fabrication issues that first year. The guys used old bike tires, and they were not sturdy enough to support the weight of the bed and the driver. Our team – made up of our tiny Irish treasurer and 4 police officers – was stopped in block 1 of the 2 block sprint with flat tires. If you were wondering, the other municipalities were either scared or had their party-pooper hats on too tight, because we were – and still are – the only local government in the race.
The new-and-improved race bed (pictured) has 3 mountain bike tires in the back and a nice sturdy ATV-type tire in the front. It is the Lincoln Town Car of race beds, the ride is that smooth. But for several years, we were out-raced by the Pinckney Pub Team. The universal opinion of our teams over the years – police officers, beleaguered husbands – was “Maybe we need younger legs.” And I thought (apologies all around, but it’s a race, damn it!), maybe we just need better legs.
So this year, strategy played a much bigger role. I actively and shamelessly recruited a team that included Pinckney’s top female high-school cross-country runner, the high school cross country coach, his brother, and two middle school track and cross-country coaches. The Dream Team of Bed Racing. Like having Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr all in the same car, and Danica Patrick too (thank you Google. I know nothing about NASCAR.).
And we won! Of course, there was only one other entry…and reigning champs Pinckney Pub were not there…so, come on Putnam and Hamburg townships! I am throwing down the gauntlet. Or maybe it should be a shillelagh. A little friendly intergovernmental rivalry never hurt anyone, right?