Finally! Wine Race pictures

Due to being woken up by screaming Music Festers, I have extra time to kill this morning. Remembering I still had Wine Race photos in the camera, I grabbed it and plugged it in. I was out of position for a lot of the photos and deleted more than half of what I took. Here are the ones that were left.

For those not familiar, teams of service industry staff compete in four events in Wine Race: An opening parade, a Queen of the Vine beauty pageant, a grape stomp, and a four-person wine relay. Lots of alcohol is consumed and things get pretty hilarious. It’s the last chance for these bar and restaurant employees to blow off steam before the busy Memphis in May season begins. Many of the bars and restaurants were from Downtown and Midtown, but there were some Tunica casino teams as well.

Note: This photo display is going to be dominated by one team, the Blind Bear. I make no effort to give the appearance that I am impartial. The Blind Bear is where I spend the most time, every one of the people who works there is my friend, and I can’t tell you how much I have appreciated their unswerving loyalty to me this past year.


And speaking of which, here is team Blind Bear. They won the opening parade.


Wine Race participant uniforms tend to represent the Memphis in May honored country, Canada this year. Therefore, lots of red and white and Canadian flags… and in the case of this team, a moose. We will hear more about this moose later.


More Canada-themed floats


This team did a throwback to the days of the Vancouver Grizzlies. Very clever.


Now we move on to Queen of the Vine, with lots of ass-shaking and bending over among the contestants. Well, well, well, look who got a spot in the front row to watch.


There’s an interview portion of Queen of the Vine. Leon somebody or other who’s on TV or radio or something (you can tell I did a lot of research for this post) asked each contestant a question.


This was a really well-done costume.


This contestant knew how to shake it.


Leon interviewing the Blind Bear contestant, my favorite pair of librarian glasses AKA Lacey.


The Vancouver Grizzly




Okay, you remember how I said I would have more to say about the moose? It joined this contestant on stage for her dance.


Yes, that is a dollar bill.


The Queen is crowned.

Before we continue, I want to stop here for a minute. You’ll notice that the queen is the contestant who danced on stage with the moose. However, the rules clearly state that no team member is allowed to join their Queen of the Vine contestant on stage. Therefore, it seems to be that she should have been disqualified and the crown should have been awarded to the second-place finisher… who was Lacey. A lot of people were saying Lacey was robbed, and I agree. It makes me wonder how political the judging is. If it’s a close call, are they going to give it to the team whose company is more likely to be a corporate sponsor for future Beale Street events?

Back to the photos.


Up next was the grape stomp. Bean had three minutes to produce as much juice as possible, using only his feet.


Gradually the Bear’s Sunday Fun Day crew found its way down to Beale. In the red shirts, from left to right: Colin, Tony, B-RAD, Rahul, Mary, and Stacey.


Wine relay time. Teams of four competed, two at one end and two at the other. Each team member has to uncork a bottle of wine, pour a glass, then put the bottle, glass, and opener on the tray and run to the other end. Each additional team member adds another bottle and glass. Colin was up first, uncorking the first bottle of wine.


Contestants have hurdles to jump on their way to the other side.


Prior to the event I took an informal poll on who of the Blind Bear team would be the one to drop the tray. The result of the poll was unanimous. It also turned out to be correct.


Jeannette was the third leg of the race.


B-RAD was up last.

Speed is not the only measurement of how a team did in Wine Race. At the end of the relay, the amount of wine left in their bottles and glasses is measured and factored into the final score.

The Bear lost to another team in the same heat, so I decided not to stick around and watch the end of the race. It was getting hot outside and I was getting dehydrated and cranky. The Call-a-Cab I had at Wet Willie’s probably didn’t help. Special thanks to Brinton who did an excellent job holding down the bar at the Blind Bear while the team was competing down the road.

Okay, let’s try this WordPress photo gallery thing. Here are all the photos I took:

Wow, I thought that would look like hot crap on a stick due to images being different sizes, but WordPress handled it well. Nice to know, because that means I can do complete photo galleries for BBQ Fest on here, rather than having to use Facebook.

All right, back to my day of barhopping and people-watching. I’ll be back tomorrow with more news probably.