On the morning of February 3rd, 2005 the Stupor Bowl jumped the shark.
It was the day that The Klempp and I got the map and listing of the Stupor Bowl stops published in the middle page of The Onion:
While there was bound to be more than 100 racers at the event due to the 7 succesful years of the event it was one of the first editions of the race to go all out with shameless promotion (are you surprised?). We got interviewed for both of the dailies, the Skyway News, Minnesota Daily and by MPR. It was quite the buildup to race day and when I woke up on Stupor Bowl Saturday and was greeted with 50degree weather I knew it was going to be big. Little did I know that over 200 riders were going to show up and we would soon sell out of shirts, in addition too, running out of manifests. The final tally was 236 paid entrants and quite a few more tagging along for fun.
One of the biggest differences from the year before was the prize list. When I finished in third place for Stupor Bowl 7 all I got was a u-lock. Third place for Stupor Bowl 8 got a frame. When Little Guy won Stupor Bowl 7 he got $60 and the yellow bag. The winner of Stupor Bowl 8 got a new bag, swobo jacket and new track wheels. We had so many damn prizes from sponsors that it would be next to impossible to list them all, but lots of people walked away with cool prizes for the variety of races that were put on.
One of the lasting pieces of this race is the shirt that each racer got with their paid registration. I still see the shirt around town on a variety of people and even saw it in Chicago when I was living there with Sarah. It is hands down the best t-shirt design I have ever seen for a bicycling event. The shirts at various pro races don’t even come close to the creativity and execution of the Stupor Bowl 8 shirt.
The rise in popularity of the Stupor Bowl was bound to happen. Yet, having a friend with access to high quality printing surely helped. In fact, after the year I threw the race it was (dis)’s turn to put on the show and he did an equally admirable job with the Prince theme. Every year since then it has gotten bigger and more and more racers show up for the event. Yet, for every 300 people that show up only 30-40 really race. The rest just enjoy the pub crawl.
My favorite part of the year I helped promote the race was utilizing the old “Level H” stamp at the Dayton’s/Marshall Field’s parking garage. Riders were asked to get a enterance ticket and have it stamped in the elevator lobby on the 8th floor of the garage. Naturally, some of the riders weren’t the smartest and they rode all the way to the top rather than using the elevator. This stop was a lot better than the ‘telephone’ stop from the 9th St. payphone across from the Campbell Mithun tower that appeared in Stupor Bowl 9.
If you asked me a few years ago if I would ever miss a Stupor Bowl I would have laughed in your face. Now, I don’t know if I will go on Saturday. The only reason I will go is to see if the Little Guy can become a member of the elite “Three Timer’s Club” with Jay Gropen. One can only hope, but with Kevin in from Milwaukee the race will be fast and close.
Picture from Stupor Bowl 9 that ran in Skyway News:
My past Stupor Bowl results:
- Stupor Bowl VII: 3rd
- Stupor Bowl IX: 5th
- Stupor Bowl X: DNF
- Stupor Bowl XI: 3rd
Who knows what Stupor Bowl XII has in store, but I figure another 3rd place is possible.