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BSD Couch Races 2010

April 17, 2010

As promised, here is the followup to couch racing on BSD 2010 near the University of Calgary.

First of all, regardless of anything else you might hear, it was a ridiculous amount of fun! And holy crow, was there ever a good turnout; if I had to guess, between the racers and spectators, I’d say that there was well over 1000 people on the hill at the height of the event! From what I have seen and heard of past years, the turnout was possibly the best it has ever been.

As you can see in this first picture, our double-couch got in on the action, and it performed admirably! We placed second in our heat, for whatever that’s worth. As you can also see, I’ve got my fashionable bike helmet on, because you can’t be too careful when barreling down a tobogganing hill on a couch (Pictures courtesy of the Calgary Sun)!

Some people should have followed my lead, apparently… if you read the local news from various sources, you’ll hear a very negative outlook on the whole thing, focusing on injuries and the drunken, irresponsible antics of foolish “adults.” While I will agree that many people there were disobeying the law by consuming alcohol openly in public, I think there are many people who are far too critical of the event. It is in no way sanctioned or organized by the Students’ Union or the University of Calgary, it is a completely independent celebration of how hard everyone has worked to complete another year of school. And yes, a few people got hurt , but by even showing up to the event (whether on a couch or spectating) everyone was taking a bit of risk that they need to be, and were, aware of. And everyone was. The spectators were generally aware of their surroundings and good at dodging incoming danger, and everyone was simply there to have a good time. Hell, even the girl who got destroyed by a barreling couch was in good spirits afterwards!

Even the reports of cops “breaking up the party” are false. The police were there for most of the event, walking through the throngs of people, with more showing up as time went on, but they were present more to make sure that nothing went wrong than anything else. The party broke itself up after the races were over, with police only there to make sure that everyone returned safely and peacefully to campus. I do feel bad for the disastrous state the hill was left in, though; littered with busted couches and beer cans.

All in all, it was an incredible amount of fun, and I can barely describe the ecstatic atmosphere on that hill. I’m glad that I experienced it at least once before graduating, and recommend that any student who hasn’t builds a couch for next year. Happy end of semester everyone, and we’re sorry City of Calgary! I hope you understand. You were young once, too.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 19, 2010 4:41 pm

    You guys might have had your shit together, but clearly many people did not. People should be able to celebrate the end of the school year without dumping trash in a public park.

    The same excuse pops up everywhere for self-indulgence. If everyone attending was aware of the risks involved, as you say, then everyone attending should have been aware of the necessity to keep the park clean.

    I wholly sanction any race involving couches, but not shitting all over a public park. Celebration need not involve whole-scale dumping, and the people there should know better.

  2. April 20, 2010 3:34 pm

    For everyone racing a couch, it was widely known that the city has been aware of these races for a number of years and that they come pick up the broken couches after the race. After the publicity the races had this year, I believe the student union decided to pay for the clean-up…. As for the cans, there are enough homeless people who collect cans in that neighborhood and the neighbouring communities that I am sure they enjoyed the quick/easy boost to their bank accounts.

    Passing by the hill on sunday. It was spotless. The clean-up was immediate. Trashing the bsd couch races because it dirtied up a park for one, maybe two days, is an invalid argument.

    And for everyone b****ing and complaining about the couch races. You weren’t there. If you were, you would have had the time of your life. For the spectators… it was like running of the bulls, calgary style… but with crashes equivalent to those seen on nascar. And for the couch racing teams. Every couch had alot of work put into them. Turning a couch into a cart that can even just make it down that massive hill is a feat in its own. And every couch had its own unique approach to overcoming that challenge.

    Cant wait till next year because this event will be huge.

  3. Jes permalink
    April 25, 2010 3:02 pm

    I read in the Calgary Herald that a girl got in and started to drive away in an ambulance that came because someone got hurt. Any idea who this girl was?” I am trying to track her down to give her an award (seriously).

  4. May 24, 2010 5:11 pm

    Do you throw trash in the hallways on campus because maintenance will come clean it up? Homeless people will clean up liquor bottles? Seriously?

    Spoiled brats don’t like being told to act their age – boohoo.

  5. September 13, 2010 1:30 pm

    Since the interest on this topic was pretty huge, I feel that it’s necessary to mention that, due to the injuries and bad press from last year, the Students’ Union and the U of C are doing their best to ensure that the Couch Races do not happen again. See this article by the Gauntlet:

    I still feel that there could have been a better solution, though. The ingenuity and uniqueness of this unofficial, traditional event will likely never be seen again in Calgary. Yes, a very few people got hurt, and yes, a very few people did stupid things like attempt to drive off in an ambulance, and yes, the hill was a mess for a day, and no, people apparently did not fully realize the risks they were placing themselves in. But I really believe that these areas could’ve been worked on to make the event continue to happen in the most legal and enjoyable way possible. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops, and what happens on BSD 2011.

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