Chiditarod 2007 Video: Chicago’s urban shopping cart race;affiliateId:73270;height:392;width:480;On March 3, 2007, more than 200 people gathered in twenty-degree weather to celebrate the second annual Chiditarod (read the Metromix preview here). Chicago’s urban shopping cart race pits human ingenuity against the elements, while collecting canned goods for donation.

Central to the Chiditarod’s philosophy is a “leave no trace,” environmentally friendly orientation. Most of the people in attendance are in some way, shape or form affiliated with the regional Burning Man community, a movement that started in California in the mid-80’s.

While a host of photographers, videographers and reporters hustled from checkpoint to checkpoint, gathering as much footage as they could, I chose to embed with one team: the Corporate Dalliances. Self-described as a ragtag gang representing the mainstream, the team utilized hard work, determination, and a fair amount of dubious tactics to win this year’s Chiditarod.

This is their story.

A Winning Strategy;affiliateId:73270;height:392;width:480;Find out the secret formula to the team’s success.

Athletic Prowess;affiliateId:73270;height:392;width:480;Were the members of Corporate Dalliance simply more athletic than the competition?

The Moral Leader;affiliateId:73270;height:392;width:480;At the third checkpoint, the team was ready to leave, but they couldn’t find Gregg. Half the team left while Eric hung back to find him. How could this happen? Did the team attempt to cheat by leaving the checkpoint early? Eric Porges, the team’s moral leader, confronts the suggestion that the team did not wait the mandatory 20 minutes.

The Judges;affiliateId:73270;height:392;width:480;See what the judges had to say about the team’s antics.

Sabotaged;affiliateId:73270;height:392;width:480;Noah Yavitz and David Solomon of Pixies Revolt tell how Gregg’s map set them back five places in the race.

Reporter’s Note

Embedding in a team with the speed, agility and dirty tactics like Corporate Dalliance isn’t easy. When I told the team I wanted to track their progress, Gregg said, “Sure, as long as you can keep up.” This proved much more difficult than I’d first imagined.

After about a half block of coughing on the team’s dust, I hitched a ride with fellow journalist Josh Hawkins to the first checkpoint. From then on, I took cabs and jumped into the cars of random volunteers in my attempts to stay one step ahead of the team.

Other than that, the footage primarily speaks for itself. Some have questioned my objectivity in covering the competition since I got to know my subjects so well. Indeed, that is the balance every journalist must achieve, proximity and objectivity. Although my hosts were gracious in the access they granted me, I think they’ll agree I questioned their tactics as an unbiased observer. Mush.

By the Numbers

34 teams finished the race.

40 volunteers manned various posts along the route.

10 organizers put months of planning into the event.

$900 in prize money was given out.

2,353 lbs. of canned food collected.


1. Corporate Dalliance
2. 20/40 Bears
3. Team Zissou
4. EMTs
5. Furries with Fury
6. Unstoppables
7. Swedish Chefs
8. Buck Funnys
9. Cold Warriors
10. Invincibillies
11. Whammy
12. Smokey the Beers
13. Mother Hubbard’s AllStar Cubbard
14. Arrrrrrr
15. Pirates of Lake Michigan
16. Chicago Vice
17. Yargh and the Shoulder Parrots
18. The Canned Goods
19. Pixie Revolts
20. Knights in Quest of the Holy Ale
21. Action Squad
22. Shotski #1
23. Prairie Fire Drinking Team
24. Go Ninja Go!!
25. My Water Just Broke
26. Lucky Charms
27. Drinktown
28. Supermarket Superheroes
29. Larry Particle and the Bonnaroo AllStars
30. Shotski #2
31. Kiss Our Klotczkys
32. CTA Blue Line
33. Nuns on the Run
34. Arms Racers

Best Skit

1. Supermarket Superheroes
2. Action Squad
3. EMTs
4. Invincibillies
5. Nuns on the Run

Prize Winners

1st place: Corporate Dalliance – $100.00
2nd place: 20/40 Bears – $100.00
3rd place: Team Zissou – $50.00
Best In Show: Action Squad – $100.00
Second-Best In Show: CTA Blue Line – $50.00
Third-Best In Show: Larry Particle and the Bonaroo AllStars – $50.00
Best In Food: Cold Warriors – $100.00
Best Skit: Supermarket Superheroes – $100.00
Spirit of Chiditarod: Invincibillies – $100.00
Best A/V: Arm’s Racers – $50.00
Best Sabotage: Corporate Dalliance – A mahogany trophy
Best Bling: EMTs – $50.00
Furthest Distance Traveled – Buck Funnys – $50.00 – (They came from Columbus, Ohio!)

Great coverage:

Josh Hawkins Photography Blog

3 thoughts on “Chiditarod 2007 Video: Chicago’s urban shopping cart race

  1. Thanks for the hook up Matt. Pleasure meeting you during the race and nice coverage of it. Good choice on teams to cover, even if they were athletically the most challenging. I finally got mine up (third project of the week, ouch. I look forward to running into you again. And if you’re working for the Medill news service I’m sure I’ll see your work in our paper at some point.


  2. As a 20/40 Bear we think we got hosed! As far as athletic prowess goes, not a single team was even close to us by the end. The last team simply left the bar early. Wow, there’s some imagination. Just don’t participate in a mandatory stop. That aside I thought you all had the best antics. It was our first time and we actually believed it was an athletic competition rather than a beer fest. We’ll be better prepared for next year.


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