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Anney Fresh, dressed in full referee gear (striped shirt, whistle, pink hat with horns), has been a fixture of Brooklyn's Idiotarod for the past eight years. If the spirit of the Idiotarod could be summed up in one person, it's Fresh—she rules with fairness, joy and a healthy measure of obscenity. She also has clear criteria for judging the participants.
"I'm looking for best in show—overall appearance, the concept (number one), the time it took to create what they're showing off, good sportsmanship, excellent bribery, creative sabotage," Fresh tells me.
Back on the flagpole, Corp X Minion #1 continues.
"Be fucking careful!" he bellows. "We don't care how fast you are. We care how awesome you are."
Fresh and Corp X also make sure to note they will not tolerate food fights—keeping the neighborhoods safe and clean is a priority for maintaining the race year after year. Even for as absurd, outrageous and at times self-destructive as the Idiotarod can be, organizers are uncompromising about this point.
Embarassing, then, that Idiotarod 2011 almost gets shut down at the first checkpoint, the Pine Box Rock Shop. A snowball fight erupts outside the bar and a local takes a stray slushball in the face. Cops arrive, but it doesn't seem like there's much of a point to shutting down the mostly harmless alcoholic parade.
"Somebody threw a snowball. We got a 911 call. That's it," is the explanation Officer Carson offers.
So that's settled, though a competitor wearing only his underwear and some Mardi Gras beads is ticketed for drinking an open container of Four Loko. The race continues.
Photos by Dana Decoursey
The next checkpoint is Matt Torrey's at 46 Bushwick Ave. It's only the second stop, but it appears that some racers are already staggering between wasted, horny and comatose. A member of the Techno Vikings pulls me close.
"I would take you! You would feel the sword of Odin," he murmurs, rubbing my arm. "Now take a picture with me, or you must masturbate on the spot."
(On the way to the next checkpoint—the Bushwick Country Club—the randy Viking from before will resurface to hump our L Mag photographer.)
"My scent is on you," he says, before running off to catch up with the rest of his team.
Racers push their carts to Callbox Lounge at 2 Lombardy St., and then to the scrap yard where they dismantle their shopping carts before the after-party. It's the first time in recent history that cart clean-up has been approached this way, and it goes down without a hitch.
Finally, it's time for the after-party at Coco 66, where awards will be announced. Disasterpiece's empty Monster Costumes sit onstage—without people in them it's easy to see what true works of art they are. The racers from Disasterpiece claim it took them 60-100 hours to construct the costumes—they had been having dinner meetings and pitching concepts to one another since the day after last year's Idiotarod.
At 5:30pm costumes are in various stages of disarray, as teams switch loyalties on the dancefloor. One of the Mardi Gras jesters gyrates with a guy in a bunny suit; a Corporation X executive drunkenly rolls about on the pool table, brandishing the pool cue suggestively between her legs.
"I think I creeped your photographer out," confesses the randy Techno Viking.
"SHUT UP, IDIOTS!" shouts Anney Fresh, taking the stage. "I GIVE YOU... HENRY MCGOVERN!"