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New Hampshire Bed Race: More Excitement Than NASCAR at NHIS

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On my way to do some leef-peepin’ and fishing in South Central New Hampshire this weekend I stopped in Henniker for worms and coffee. The town center was mobbed with people, a live band, and what seemed to be a race course.  In fact, I had stumbled into the 6th Annual Bed Race in Henniker, which in my opinion, is more exciting than the best NASCAR can offer up the road at Loudon’s New Hampshire Speedway.

There’s Only One Henniker

As the saying goes there is only one Henniker on Earth, so I am fairly certain that there is also only one Henniker bed race in the solar system. The bed-race is organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Spirit of Henniker Organizational Team (SHOT).  I spoke to Terri Trier, Chairperson Spirit of Henniker.  She told me that Intervale Pancake House was favored to win for the third time in a row this year.  Indeed, although Pat’s Peak Ski Area had a strong showing, a penalty put Intervale ahead for the win at day’s end.  Other entrants included the Country Sprit Restaurant, Henniker Pharmacy (where I always buy my worms), Colby Hill Inn, and the Fire Department.

The Bed Racecars

The Beds are either real beds with wheels, or in the case of 3-time winner Intervale, a sort of race cart that looks a little like a cabin cot cross-bred with a sprint-race Outlaw’s car. They use bicycle tires, and some have elaborate suspensions.  Others are more for show than go.  The beds are pushed at all four corners by racers and on the bed rides a person who’s main job is to scream encouragement or warnings.  One bed went straight into the crowd at speed rally-style and like in rally, was pushed back onto the course by fanatical spectators.  The rider’s second responsibility is to remove a shirt at the shirt-removal station.

Bed Intervale 2

bed racecar bed

Bed Race Course

The race goes up the street in front of Daniels restaurant, turns around the little traffic island, comes back, and then there is the shirt removal station that the bed has to stop at before sprinting to the finish. Nobody I spoke to knew why the shirt removal was required, but it is indeed the challenging part of the course.  NASCAR should seriously consider this.  It was here that team Pat’s Peak was found to not have removed said shirt entirely and was sent back for a re-do costing them the trophy and the glory.

bed racers

The race is very exciting, and access is easy. Front row standing spots are not hard to elbow one’s way into and during the racing the many food stands are free of any line.  Nobody I spoke to could confirm the rumor I made up that Tony Stewart likes to race in disguise some years.

John Goreham

John Goreham

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