On Saturday at noon, they gathered at Grand Army Plaza: 16 ridiculously themed and costumed teams, each comprising between four and 20 individuals, with one tricked-out shopping cart, ready to tear around the streets of Brooklyn for the next 10 hours or so — stopping only to refuel at a series of local taverns.
The event was the 20th annual running of the Idiotarod, a totally made-up, ridiculous sporting event that rewards showmanship and sabotage rather than speed.
The saboteurs of Suds ‘n’ Buds blocking the Loaf Gang (Scott Lynch)
There are also bribes. Idiotarad judges love getting bribes, and the racers are more than happy to comply, handing out food, booze and other intoxicants, homemade swag and “experiences” like whatever the hell was going on inside Dr. Who’s phone booth.
The result, as is often the case, was chaos. Or as Anna Garrison of Brooklyn Heights put it, “I’m here for the mayhem.”
The big winner of this year’s Idiotarad was the Gimp My Ride team, sexy leather freaks who took home Best In Show honors and $250.
Best in Show winners, Gimp My Ride (Scott Lynch)
The Orcapy Whale Street gang, a rowdy pod of punk-rock orcas hungry to eat the rich, won the Best Costume trophy and $200. Team Gold Members, a kind of mashup of Austin Powers and a “Hurtz” rental car counter, won Best Industrial Design and $150 for their massive vehicle, which was really three carts fused into one.
Best Industrial Design winners, the Gold Members (Scott Lynch)
The Best Bribery award, and $100, went to the Hot Cucumber crew for their fire-roasted sandwiches, among other treats.
Best Bribery winners, the Hot Cucumbers (Scott Lynch)
Other teams of note included personal favorites Loaf Gang, headed by the actual bakers behind the actual Northside Bakery in Williamsburg, who transformed their cart into a loaf of bread. Then there was Cartapus, which distributed numerous hugs along the way with one or more of its eight tentacles.
Cartapus (Scott Lynch)
Also competing: Clams Casino (a roulette table run by sea creatures), Wingdings Airline (“who needs doors that stay on when we’ve got corporate profits?”), the not-so-squeaky-clean car wash saboteurs of Suds ‘n’ Buds and the Stoops Kids, decked out in Hey Arnold gear.
Team Stoop Kids (Scott Lynch)
The cone-heads of One Fell Scoop, turned their cart into a working ice cream truck.
One Fell Scoop (Scott Lynch)
There were four checkpoints along the five mile route, bars who welcomed the idiots and hosted the absurd games they’re forced to play to get their cards signed by the judges: 99 Rogers in Crown Heights, Wonderville and Bar Cornelia in Bushwick, and The Deep End in Ridgewood played the gracious hosts this year. And after the winners were announced and received their insane handmade trophies — courtesy of artist Kim Couchot — the party moved to a dead-end street in Ridgewood where the carts were hoisted to the treetops and summarily smashed.
Smashy smashy (Scott Lynch)
“This was my first Idiotarod,” Prospect Heights resident and Clams Casino crew member Liana Yamin told Brooklyn Magazine. “I had seen posts from friends in years past of the spectacle and there seems to be no other bar crawl or event like it. Just a full commitment to the theme. How could I say no?”