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Bed races highlight Laporte Days fun

Laporte Days bed races, above left, pitted volunteer firefighters against each other, with the mayor thrown in for good measure, at right. (Sarah Smith/Enterprise)1 / 2
The cow was too pooped to do its business on the gridded lawn, so a winner was drawn from a hat, not from under a lucky cowpie. (Sarah Smith/Enterprise)2 / 2

Next year’s Laporte Days will be putting out an early request for a domesticated cow, one that will cooperate and play by the rules.  This year’s cow bolted through the orange snow fence after brief runs around the grid area, without gracing a single one of the Cow-a-Bunga squares with a plop. And it had 360 beauties to pick from.  The chase was on, as people on four-wheelers and the cow owner pursued the animal north and across Highway 200.  It seemed the cow was heading for Canada and after the crowd pursued it, the frightened animal kept on going.  

“It was hilarious,” said Chuck Traxel, a member of the Laporte-Benedict Lions Club, which sponsored the event. He was still laughing Monday.  But he said Laporte lucked out that the cow didn’t hit a motorist, or vice versa, on the highway, which was busy with weekend lake traffic.  “They just took it out of a pasture,” he said of the wayward cow. “I wanted a cow that is used to being around people, like one that goes to the fair.”  

With that hitch in the giddy-up, Laporte Days went off without other glitches.  The winner of the Cow-a-Bunga Raffle was picked out of a hat, not from under a cowpie, and the lucky Bemidji resident won $1,800.  The cow, once eventually caught, was so tuckered out it laid down in its wagon and refused to get up. It was pooped, as the saying goes.  Traxel said the Lions Club had been busy selling tickets all summer and they were gone when the festivities started Saturday morning. The remaining $1,800 went to the Lions Club.  The bed races pitted two teams of Lakeport volunteer firefighters against each other, pushing a three-wheel bed against a four-wheel bed. The four-wheeler won. Laughing firefighters were a hit with the crowd.  The town’s new shelter, dedicated a few weeks ago, was the hub of activities as periodic rain showers caused residents to run for cover.  

Kids reveled in the bouncy house, propelling themselves down its inflated walls over and over again.  And a brisk flea market dotted the town square, selling everything under the sun.   As far as the cow, Traxel said the results were no different than it would have been if the cow hadn’t plopped. And the cow-a-bunga promoters had carefully consulted the state gaming commission so no recount – or replop - would have been necessary. Sponsors would simply have picked a raffle number from the lucky hat.  “It could have happened to anyone,” Traxel noted.  When asked if the Laporte Days planners would offer the event next year, Traxel said, “Yes, it’s in the plan. We’ll just be using a different cow.”