After coming in second place in last year’s bed race, the DeBrand Fine Chocolates team found itself victorious in the Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival’s 2012 Bed Race due to a disqualification.
Second-place finishers from Coney Island were unable to compete in the final race Wednesday because team member Kyle Todoran became ill, said Ian Keith, his Coney Island co-worker and teammate. Medics said Todoran could not participate, meaning his team would have to forfeit the race.
The crowd started to set up canvas chairs, lay out blankets or simply plop down along the curb on Main Street between Clinton and Lafayette streets at 5 p.m., long before the road barriers were up, in preparation for the race.
“This is a Fort Wayne favorite,” festival Executive Director Jack Hammer said. “This is something that was running when I was little.”
Sue Dayton of Roanoke had a spot up front to watch the race, and she said she has attended every Three Rivers Festival – she was a Junk Food Alley vendor for 25 years – except one. Last year, she missed the festival because she was in Houston at the MD Anderson Cancer Center receiving treatment for brain cancer.
So far, it’s been the only thing to keep her away from the festival, and the bed race is one of her favorite festival activities.
“It’s something different,” Dayton said. “This is one of those that’s enjoyable.”
This event marks DeBrand team captain Cameron Kelly’s fifth win after coming in second place last year by a technicality; a teammate twisted his ankle and let go of the bed right before it crossed the finish line, Hammer said. A bed race rule – one that resulted in a disqualification in the second round this year – states that all participants must be touching the bed when it crosses the finish line.
Kelly has participated in 12 bed races – from 1995 to 2000 and 2007 to now. He made the team’s bed out of exhaust-pipe tubing in 1995 and has used the same frame since, with small tweaks on the bed’s decoration. This year, Kelly said, the idea was to make the contraption look like a box of chocolates.
Imago Dei, last year’s winner, was named this year’s people’s choice bed.