First ever Detroit chicken races!

The first ever chicken races were held in Detroit on Sunday. Seventeen Detroit-based hens competed in the races.

The word  “competed” implies there was actually some racing. The chickens seemed rather indifferent. Now and then a couple birds sprinted, but at the end of the event, none reached the finish line.

Noting the chickens’ disinterest in the foot race, the race promoter wisely changed the rules so that the bird closest to the finish line after 3 minutes was declared the victor.

It was a great time, especially hearing the pre-race scuttlebutt from some of the chicken owners.

“She laid an egg this morning. That’s a great sign.”

“Dude, don’t smoke near my chicken! She’s gotta race.”

Although they didn’t win, Team Cluckstrong was among the more organized teams with T-shirts and Team Cluckstrong arm bands (and leg band for the bird.)

Overall, it was a great time — the silly side of urban ag.

Our Detroit chicken race photo gallery is on-line.

The Detroit News has more coverage of the event.

There’s also a Detroit Chicken Race page on Facebook.

And here’s a short, but interesting video from the Detroit Free Press.

Watch the video on the
Web site

Detroit loses a lot of spunk

It comes as shocking news that one of Detroit’s always-energetic, engaging fitness cheerleader is quiet. Julie Hecker, the leader of the Motor City Rah-Rahs and Punk Fitness died of a massive heart attack on Wednesday.

From the Freep:

Hecker, 44, was a vivacious personality who bridged her own love of dance and exercise with the city’s gritty rock scene. It was an unorthodox combination that often found her with hula hoops and bright sportswear leading crowds of leather-clad rockers through energetic dance routines.

“Anyone who has that energy is like a pied piper,” said Vinnie Dombroski of the bands Sponge and the Orbitsuns. “She had that spark, and people wanted to see what the spark was about. She knitted the whole scene together. That’s why so many people are shocked and just sick over this.”

The Metro Times also has a touching blog entry, Remembering Julie Hecker.

I worked with Julie only briefly while doing sound for the Detroit Derby Girls, where she was a fixture. She really worked the crowd during halftime and introduced a helluva lot of Detroit kids to hullahoops!

She also proudly promoted Detroit music during all of her routines, something I really appreciated.

Instructions on how to contribute to Julie’s funeral

Detroiters march against the Nain Rouge

You don’t believe a red dwarf has terrorized Detroit for over three centuries? It’s true. It’s in Wikipedia.

Starting in 1710, Detroiters marched to banish the Nain Rouge from the city — along with all the terrible events associated with him. For the past century, there was no march, but on Sunday — the 300th anniversary — we marched again.

Both the Time Magazine blog and Model D have good accountings of the event which saw 200 people march through the Cass Corridor.

Surprisingly enough, Mayor Dave Bing didn’t mention the Nain Rouge or his banishment during yesterday’s state of the city event. You’d think that was good news.

I’ve uploaded a modest photo gallery of the Nain Rouge march.

Happy Birthday, Babe!

Yesterday, February 6th was Babe Ruth’s birthday.

Now that’s not something I’d normally get excited about, but there is an annual birthday party for the slugger at Tom’s Tavern in Detroit.

This was my first time going, and the small bar was absolutely packed but friendly. The Stroh’s were cold. Everyone got a Babe birthday pin, too.

And here’s some interesting local history from the Babe Ruth article in Wikipedia:

Ruth’s name quickly became synonymous with the home run, as he led the transformation of baseball strategy from the “inside game” to the “power game”, and because of the style and manner in which he hit them. His ability to drive a significant number of his home runs in the 450–500 foot range and beyond resulted in the lasting adjective “Ruthian,” to describe any long home run hit by any player. Probably his deepest hit in official game play (and perhaps the longest home run by any player), occurred on July 18, at Detroit’s Navin Field, in which he hit one to straightaway center, over the wall of the then-single-deck bleachers, and to the intersection, some 575 feet from home plate.

That intersection is presumably what’s now Trumbull and the service drive. With Tiger stadium gone, it’s easier to visualize just how far that home run was.

Those crazy old sports jocks

Jocks strap for cyclists from 1901I spent a good deal of time reading old League of American Wheelmen (L.A.W.) Bulletins from the late 1890s and early 1900s. The L.A.W. was the main bicycling group during the time when bikes were king.

Not unexpectedly, I came across some funny old time advertisements, not unlike what you used to see on the tables at Wendy’s restaurants.

But I tend to doubt the ad on the right ever appeared at Wendy’s.

I will give Doctor Meyer’s credit for a minimalist design and detachable sacks, though the latter just doesn’t sound right.

However, I bet the Doctor is being optimistic about the “never irritates” claim. Please tell me the sacks weren’t made from scratchy wool.

Fortunately this wasn’t the only option advertised. This jock from Sharp and Smith was also just a buck.

For me, the main selling point is Major Taylor “and other cracks” wear this brand.

Then again, today’s basic lycra bike shorts work just fine.

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