With an overall race time of just over four and a half minutes, the Courtney S. Turner Hall team left its rivals in the dust, or rather, it may have seemed that the other guys fell asleep on the job.
If they did, they were well equipped to do so in the 2019 Benedictine College Homecoming Bed Races, one of the most unconventional traditions among the colleges and universities of the Midwest. Either way, “T-Nasty” prevailed, and hefted two golden trophies over hundreds of fellow Ravens, representing wins in the men’s division and the honor of the fastest overall time.
“Hey, it feels great,” said Malachi Hughes, a freshman member of T-Nasty, the nickname for Team Turner Hall. “I had to do it for the homies, the alumni, all T-Nasty out there, everyone who has ever been a part of it, we love you all. We do it for you. We do it for you.”
The races began in the mid-20th century, a college spokesman said, after the Mount St. Scholastica (Women’s) College and St. Benedict’s (Men’s) College, located on opposite sides of town, found it prudent to share resources, such as furniture for on-campus housing.
Students of each institution, who generally didn’t have their own vehicles, contributed by moving beds and other items on rollers, a round trip of about 3 miles. The tradition lives today following the 1971 decision to merge the two institutions into the co-ed Benedictine College, and the eventual shutdown of collegiate academics at the St. Scholastica Campus.
It might have been inevitable for the furniture moving to have evolved into a race, and today the “beds” are actually just salvaged bicycle and metal furniture parts welded together, although each vehicle must incorporate a traditional bedspring in its design to be properly called a “bed.”
Bicycle gears are not allowed; each team must propel their “bed” by foot power alone, and most beds end up propelled by four or five runners holding attached handles. The modern race is about half the distance of the old one to encourage runners to sprint. The victors, with Team Turner Hall joined by Team St. Scholastica Hall in the women’s division and Team Apartments in the Co-Ed Division, enjoy the spoils of determined athleticism, confidence in each other and faith in God.
Dorothy Hoopes, who hails from Atchison herself and always knew she would be a Raven, said she is thrilled to have been a captain of Team St. Scholastica Hall.
“It means so much,” she said. “This is so amazing. The theme, it all just works so perfectly. I’m so excited. I’m so happy.”