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Participants survive wacky bed race
Rincon Chevrolet's team members laugh while trying to get their disabled bed across the finish line Saturday. One of its rear wheels came loose. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

RINCON — Saturday’s Family Promise of Effingham County Demolition Derby, oops, Family Promise Bed Race, featured a few mishaps and malfunctions. Fortunately, everyone exited the annual family event at First Baptist Church of Rincon in good spirits and good health.

“We all survived,” said Leah Kessler, Family Promise executive director.

Kessler bandaged one participant who suffered an arm abrasion after stumbling and hitting the asphalt during an early heat. Other entries also had a team member hit the deck somewhere along the way.

“That was so crazy,” Kessler said. “We just had some minor scratches so we are all good.”

Equipment mishaps were also prevalent. During the one heat, a rear wheel came loose on Rincon Chevrolet’s bed and The Chapel’s bed veered off course and into some shrubbery.

The Chapel, boasting a bed adorned with flame decals on its sides, rebounded nicely, winning the Faster Pastor Division. It also claimed the People’s Choice Award.

“The People’s Choice Award is based on votes,” Kessler said. “You make a vote based on monetary donations, so whoever collected the most money during the bed race won the People’s Choice Award.”

Rincon First Christian Church claimed the grand championship, wresting it from seven other teams.

“They had the raw overall fastest time without any ‘buy down’ time,” Kessler said.

Teams could “buy” one second off their times by donating $100 to Family Promise, an organization that helps homeless and low-income families build a better future.

“We had teams raise $3,000 for ‘buy-down seconds,’ ” Kessler said.

Rincon First Christian Church also won the  Open Division (high schoolers and adults) and the Youth Division.

The Goshen Travelers provided entertainment throughout the event, which also featured raffles and a variety of vendors.

“We raised close to $10,000 and all proceeds will obviously go to Family Promise to help families become independent again and find their own place,” Kessler said. “We are real excited about that.”