The Greatest Arctic Sport: The Chiditarod

Active, Events
March 9, 2010 10:16 am

Who says Chicago doesn’t have culture?

What? The Chiditarod is an annual shopping cart race through six Chicago bars, in which participants must compete in karaoke contests and pole dancing competitions, write “chaikus” and make up a team cheer. The rules are as ridiculous as you might expect, allowing for the sabotage of other Chiditarod teams and leaving such blanket statements as “At each checkpoint [bar], you’ll present your race card (found in your racer pack) to the volunteers, who will hold it until they give it back to you.”

Why? Teams must finish the race with at least 40 pounds of canned food in the cart to donate to a food drive. This year, they gave to the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation. The total isn’t calculated yet for the 2010 race, but last year’s came to 7,758 pounds of food.

Who? Any team of five people over the age of 21, willing to dress up in a theme (shopping cart included!) and pay the registration fee, can participate.

Where? The starting point was the intersection of Wolcott and Hubbard. The bars included in the fun were Phyllis’ Musical Inn (1800 W. Division St.), Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave.), Happy Village (1059 N. Wolcott Ave.), Innertown Pub (1935 W. Thomas St.), Five Star Pub (1424 W. Chicago Ave.) and Mahoney’s (551 N. Ogden Ave.). The finish line was at Bottom Lounge (1375 W. Lake St.).

And the moment you’ve been waiting for: the competitors. Only “before” shots are possible, mostly because the contestants are far too drunk and finish the race at too many different times to actually enable an “after” shot.

Chaos at registrationBreakfast was provided for the contestants (thank God)Registration line's around the cornerThe registration lineThe entrance to the breakfast cook-outThe head of the registration line"ET phone home"BikerzCluckersChickens in the trees, only at the ChiditarodCommunistsCool runnings, Chicago styleCrouching Tiger, Hidden... handle?DNA ...I wish I took physicsGood morning, beautifulHappy St. Patty's!It's me, Mario!KFC and the Colonel, some more Northwestern friendsMario's popularMel Gibson? Is that you?Under arrest.Milkin' it.Must be a hazmat crewPolice departmentScooby and the gangScout's honorSo the theme is animal hatsSheriff's departmentSomehow, I feel like I should know what this theme was.Stretching before the raceThe secret lives of bees?People in the street were shouting, "Oh my God, it's a pack of vaginas!"My friends, the Trojan horse crewOutside Big Star BarFive Star Bar is one of the checkpoints
Chaos at registration

Chaos at registration

Breakfast was provided for the contestants

Breakfast was provided for the contestants (thank God)

Registration line's around the corner

Registration line's around the corner

The registration line

The registration line

The entrance to the breakfast cook-out

The entrance to the breakfast cook-out

The head of the registration line

The head of the registration line

"ET phone home"

Bikerz

Bikerz

Cluckers

Cluckers

Chickens in the trees, only at the Chiditarod.

Chickens in the trees, only at the Chiditarod

Communists

Communists

Cool runnings, Chicago style

Cool runnings, Chicago style

Crouching Tiger, Hidden... handle

Crouching Tiger, Hidden... handle?

DNA ...I wish I took physics

DNA ...I wish I took physics

Good morning, beautiful

Good morning, beautiful

Happy St. Patty's

Happy St. Patty's!

It's me, Mario!

It's me, Mario!

KFC and the Colonel

KFC and the Colonel, some more Northwestern friends

Mario's popular

Mario's popular

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson? Is that you?

Mel Gibson, under arrest

Under arrest.

Milkin' it.

Milkin' it.

Must be a hazmat crew

Must be a hazmat crew

Police department

Police department

Scooby and the gang

Scooby and the gang

Scout's honor

Scout's honor

So the theme is animal hats

So the theme is animal hats

Sheriff's department

Sheriff's department

Somehow, I feel like I should know what this theme was.

Somehow, I feel like I should know what this theme was.

Stretching before the race

Stretching before the race

The secret life of bees

The secret lives of bees?

They call themselves

People in the street were shouting, "Oh my God, it's a pack of vaginas!"

Trojan horse

My friends, the Trojan horse crew

Outside Big Star Bar

Outside Big Star Bar

Outside Five Star Bar, a checkpoint

Five Star Bar is one of the checkpoints

Tara for TKGO

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2 Comments

  • Was this your first year?

    • I didn’t actually compete, I had a paper to write so I babysat/drove my five friends, who were doing this for the first time. And after seeing the chaos, I think every team should appoint a babysitter. We lost one after the first bar (he turned up unscratched, luckily) and one didn’t have a phone so had to Sharpie my number on his arm. I will definitely be competing next year.

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