Radio Programming Ideas For Personalities and Programmers, Especially Country Radio Broadcasters.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Hub Magazine's Cool News: "The Idiotarod"
Tim Manners, editor, reports that Brooklyn, inspired by Alaska's Iditarod and stealing from San Francisco's Urban Iditarod, a couple of Brooklyn, N.Y., roommates last Saturday staged the third annual Idiotarod, as reported by Joe Barrett in The Wall Street Journal (2/3/06). With apologies, perhaps, to Balto, "shopping carts take the place of sleds and human beings replace the dogs. Instead of more than 1,000 miles of snow covered back country, the course features about four miles of snarling traffic, crowded sidewalks, nasty potholes, stern police and a chaotic crossing of the Manhattan Bridge in which entrants sabotage one another with body checks. They also throw fruit." The teams -- each consisting of five people -- prepare for the race by decorating the shopping carts. One team "enclosed the cart in plywood and installed a batter and a propane tank. The finished product had working headlights, a hot-rod paint job and a sculpted 6-foot-high, fire-breathing snake head." Another team "featured cowboys, a busty barkeep and a working keg of beer. A team from the 'Mayo Clinic' dressed as doctors, smothered themselves in mayonnaise."
They were well prepped for what was to follow, as contestants at one point has to run "a gantlet of hurled bananas, maple syrup, ketchup and other goopy stuff." Strange stuff, indeed -- but Brooklyn's Idiotarod is a growing phenomenon: "The first year drew about 150 runners pushing 30 carts. The second year, 600 runners showed up and about 1,000 turned out this year," according to Jeff Stark, who organized the race with Maureen Flaherty. "Organized" is a relative term, actually. Jeff and Maureen publicize the race on the web , but they don't bother getting permits to close off streets along the route" and in fact take pains to throw the police off their trail to make sure the race isn't stopped before it even starts. The police catch on quickly, of course, but play along, issuing "a few citations for drinking in public" but otherwise letting the Idiotarod run its course. So, what, exactly, is the appeal here? Says Jeff: "Art is one of the reasons that people will accept for doing things in New York ... You can get away with all kinds of creative high jinks." San Francisco's Urban Iditarod is set for "March 4, the starting date for the real Iditarod race from Anchorage to Nome."