OATMAN — The 30th Annual Oatman Bed Races packed ’em in this year like few others as hundreds of spectators filled the tiny town from top to bottom to see the famous event.
Chamber of Commerce President Darin Lowery and his cast of merrymakers, including several sheriffs and one bank robber, kept the throngs in laughter prior to the races with a good old fashioned Wild West shootout.
Then it was off to the races with around 10 teams competing, including the Hot Flashes, The Sunshine Girls, the Oatman shootout cast and many more, each hauling a passenger down Main Street on a bed to the opposite end where an unmade bed awaited. Teams then made that bed, after which they ran back with the same passenger as rode down the course to the finish line.
Celebrities were present for this year’s races, most notably Walter, the orphaned burro, who was on hand eating to his heart’s delight as the racers got ready to roll.
License plates from across America lined the Oatman Road coming into Oatman and visitors had to walk up to a mile to see the races.
Crowd estimates were as high as 500, and without a drone to get above it it was hard to tell just how many people did show up. Motorcycles lined the streets in town and cars stretched for a mile at least down Oatman Road toward Boundary Cone Road.
A brand new high power hunting rifle was on the stand next to the gold, silver and bronze medals awaiting the winners of the races and was to be raffled off afterward.