Beaufort Today -

Bay Street wakes up for bed races

  • Dan Hunt/Beaufort Today Participants race down Bay Street while spectators unload their water guns.
  • Dan Hunt/Beaufort Today Team Have a Nice Day gets on its mark.
  • Dan Hunt/Beaufort Today A prepares for its run at the bed races.
  • Dan Hunt/Beaufort Today CrossFit Beaufort celebrates its first-place finish with Commodore Jason Berry, third from left.

The last Friday night of the Beaufort Water Festival belonged to one of the event’s quirkiest traditions, the annual bed races.

One of the festival’s longest-running events, the timed road sprint has four runners push a hospital bed occupied by a fifth person, one team at a time.

The tradition didn’t start in Beaufort; neither did that of teams dressing up in a goofy theme. But the hundreds who flock to Bay Street each year come prepared with something that makes the races uniquely part of the festival: water.

Kids and adults alike brought out their water guns Friday to hose down the seven teams as they sprinted by. The targets included four Clemson “football players” pushing an injured South Carolina Gamecock “player,” four Forrest Gumps pushing Lt. Dan, four men wrapped in toilet paper pushing a certain smelly, brown emoji, and of course, the commodore pushed by the Pirettes.

“You’re expecting some cold water, some other kinds of water and you never know quite what’s going to meet you at the end,” Berry said after his run.

What was waiting for him this year was a dousing of paint and silly string.

While the race results take a backseat to the allure of a carefree summer night, there’s always motivation to finish first.

That honor belonged to CrossFit Beaufort this time after two consecutive years of finishing second. Steven Jeter said the key to winning is smoothly executing the slight turn near the end of the race.

“We let go of the bed and everybody else holds on. Aerodynamics, you know?” Jeter said.

A few years of experience dealing with the mayhem may have paid off there, as Crossfit Beaufort won despite one of its runners hitting the deck.

“We had to finish with three out of our four engines, but hey, we got it done,” Jeter said.

Meanwhile, the first-timers had their struggles.

“It was a lot more slippery than we thought it would be and it was actually a sprint that was a lot more tiring than I thought it would be,” said Courtney Humes from Team Have a Nice Day. “We should have trained!”

Humes and her friends avoided going home emptyhanded, though, as the team’s Forrest Gump bed won “Best Decorated.”

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