LYNDEN - In its 10th year, the wheel-shredding pushcart derby that is the Lynde 500 made its own kind of history.
After hours of competition Monday, Sept. 3, spectators watching the rollicking race in downtown Lynden were treated to even more racing as teams faced off in tiebreakers for first to fourth place in the main event, which was open to racers 14 years and older.
That many tiebreakers was unprecedented, according to Troy Luginbill, co-founder of the race and director of Lynden Pioneer Museum.
The museum hosted the event, which is a four-person round-robin relay - each team has one driver and three people who take turns pushing - over 740 feet of track that includes straight-aways, the Tunnel of Doom and curves designed to separate wheels from carts, or at least to mangle them.
"And they're off! Boogity, boogity, folks. Give them a hand," emcee Luginbill said at the start of one of the heats for the main event.
There also was a youth division, in which team Lyncs came out on top.
The main event had nine teams, including last year's winner - the League of Shadows, which was sponsored by Sunrise Baptist Church.
But there would be no first place repeat for the League because, as is often the case with the Lynde, their cart's wheels were destroyed time and again.
"The competition has been fabulous," Luginbill said in an interview about the 10th annual race.
He also praised the League's spirit.
"They're losing wheels and steering. They are persevering. They are the epitome of sportsmanship," he said.
Of the teams competing in the main event, seven were new this year, according to Luginbill.
First-time racers included Bellingham siblings Katelynn Lawrence, 14, and Dalton Hewiston, 17 - both with team Farmers Insurance.
She drove, he pushed in the first leg.
Her reason for trying the race was simple.
"My friend Amanda told me about it," Lawrence said. "I decided to do it because it seemed fun."
Her strategy as a driver? Don't crash.
Other first-timers included Courtney Lange, 29, and Janet Cassar, 44, both of Bellingham.
They were with the Ferndale YMCA team, which was sponsored by Simple Box.
For them, the best and worst parts of the race were no different.
The best part? Being the only two female pushers, they said.
"The worst part was being the only two female pushers," the duo said, laughing.
"But we had fun," Lange said.
They'll be back next year, they vowed.
"We're all about the Department of Fun," Cassar said.
And the top four finishers in the main event?
Fourth place went to Wiersma Construction and third to Blue Lightning, which was sponsored by Les Schwab.
The race for first place was between Farmers Insurance and Get Off My Lawn, which was sponsored by Starbucks.
In an earlier heat, Farmers had beaten Get Off by a nose.
But the coffee-fueled team saved its best for last.
"Get Off My Lawn is just going crazy," Luginbill said, as the team jumped out to an early start and kept the lead, especially when Farmers lost something important.
"That last curve there, Farmers throws a wheel," Luginbill said as the crowd cheered on the racers, and Get Off My Lawn rolled across the finish line first to become top cart this Labor Day, earning the winners the top prize of $1,000 in iPods.
Reach Kie Relyea at email@example.com or call 360-715-2234.
Reach KIE RELYEA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2234.