The Nine Craziest Carts at Phoenix Idiotarod
Phoenix Idiotarod participants gather at Margaret T. Hance Park on Saturday. See more photos from the event via our slideshow.
Photos by Benjamin Leatherman
They came, they saw, they drank. And they also caused much chaos and got really messy in the process. The participants at the annual Phoenix Idiotarod this past weekend certainly didn't disappoint when it came to their creativity, as well as their penchant for referencing pop culture or attempting to offend with their outrageousness.
A slew of colorfully decorated shopping carts, each designed around unique and bizarre themes and manned by teams of costumed characters, invaded the Margaret T. Hance park on Saturday for the yearly event, which is put on by the Arizona Cacaphony Society, and got ready for an afternoon to remember.
Chaotic fun ensued during the latest edition of the annual outrageous event, as participants bombed around between bars and drinkeries, competed in alcohol-related challenges, and slung substances like cooked rice or sawdust at other teams as sabotage.
Phoenix Idiotarod participants get into a flour fight outside of the Crescent Ballroom.
Amongst the three dozen or so themed teams that turned out for off-the-wall race, we spotted groups inspired by Reservoir Dogs, Giligin's Island, and Home Depot chain of construction supply stores. Then there were the carts that were either extremely crazy and entirely memorable and both shocked or impressed us.
9. Moonshiners: Drunk and Stupid The sons of the south were sent up in silly fashion via this particular Idiotarod team, whose members transformed its cart into a mobile distillery (albeit non-functional) and dressed in coveralls, straw hats, and camouflage wear. They also toted around bottles of a clear liquid, which may or may not have been white lightning. Yeehaw!
8. Cheese & Chile Speaking of playing up stereotypes, this group featured a flock of Caucasian folks dressed as banditos (complete with serapes and fake Dirty Sanchez mustaches) and pushing around a cart that was essentially a Mexican food buffet on wheels that was topped with a gigantic sombrero. While they won't win any awards for their racial sensitivity (and were a bit more P.C. the another cart starring people in pink jumpsuits labeled with "Illegal Alien"), Cheese & Chile kept other teams from getting hungry by feeding them burritos and pouring shots of tequila into their mouths.
7. Team Take Out Completing our hat trick of casual racism is Team Take Out (subtitle: "Have a Rice Day!"), who spent two days making a shopping trolley resemble one of those white to-go containers popularized by Chinese restaurants. It boasted a dude dressed as a sushi chef, a couple of people in conical paddy hats, and a femme fatales in vampy Asian-inspired dresses, including a Vietnamese lass named Jayd Lem who told us she came up with the theme. "Yeah, it's funny because the only Asian on our team came up with our concept," Lem says, laughing. At least no one attempted to talk with some comically bad stereotypical Oriental accents.
6. Star Whores/Jedi Mind-Fuck (Tie) We admit to being some of the biggest Star Wars fans around, so naturally we were impressed by both of the Idiotarod teams that riffed on the space adventurers from a galaxy far, far away. Jedi Mind-Fuck earned some serious nerd respect by building a miniature version of an X-Wing fighter that was piloted by such star warriors as Yoda, C-3PO, and a hairy dude dressed as Slave Leia (yikes).
Meanwhile, Star Whores offered salacious versions of Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader, as well as a cart with an aluminum foil version of the Millennium Falcon captain frozen in carbonite. We were so geeked out that we'll refrain from nitpicking the contradiction of Solo paradoxically pushing himself around.
5. Smitten Kittens When we first encountered this colorful crew, we assumed it was the team we'd heard was going to be based around the ultra-popular Internet meme Grumpy Cat. While that particular group wound up no-showing the event, this high-concept affair was just as entertaining. According to the team's lineup, they were a pack of old ladies who'd been adopted by one feline, offering a spin on the notion of crazy cat ladies. As such, they covered their cart with afghans, wore bathrobes, and wielded canes.
3. Team South Park In theory, Phoenix Idiotarod teams are supposed to only five members each. In actual practice, however, groups will sometime bring out additional "unofficial" members who don't operate their cart but help support their concept or round out their cast. To wit: Team South Park featured a total of nine people portraying most of the main characters from the notorious Comedy Central adult cartoon. Their roster included Stan, Kenny, Kyle, and (of course) Cartman, as well as Randy Marsh, Chef, Butters, and Wendy Testaburger. All of their recreations were quite cool, except for Towelie. He's the worst character ever.
3. Mortal Kartbot The ultra-bloody landmark fighting game Mortal Kombat was the inspiration behind this fearsome fivesome's Idiotarod cart. They adorned themselves as such mythical and mystical martial artists from the game as Scorpion, Sonya Blade, Kitana, the lightning-powered Raiden, and even the six-armed beast Goro and utilized a cart that resembled a cardboard version of the classic Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Thankfully, no dismemberment or decapitations were unleashed by the team during the course of the race.
2. 3-2-1 Contact Concordia Rolling around with an substantial-looking cart that involved a large papier-mâché rendition of a cruise ship, this outrageous ensemble satirized last year's Costa Concordia tragedy by portraying a crew of arrogant Italian sailors who sought to annoy with over-the-top accents, shouts of "Andiamo!" blasting the country's grating soccer anthem on a blaring sound system.
1. Flash Gordon Our personal favorite Idiotarod entry, and arguably one of the best-looking of the bunch, was this tribute to old Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s, as well as the campy and schlocky 1980 remake. All of the major characters from the epic science-fiction tale were included -- Ming the Merciless, Queen Fria, and Flash Gordon himself -- each wearing painstakingly recreated costumes and piloting a zazzy space ship.
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