SHOWN IN THE BACKGROUND, from left, are Courtney Ross, Corie Washow and Jeff Smith as they pose behind the racing bed Smith built for Saturday’s Rolling Slumber Bed Race in Brunswick. Washow owns Shift of Maine, a sustainable-goods store on Maine Street. Her nephew, Spencer, visiting from Illinois, is perched atop the sheets.

SHOWN IN THE BACKGROUND, from left, are Courtney Ross, Corie Washow and Jeff Smith as they pose behind the racing bed Smith built for Saturday’s Rolling Slumber Bed Race in Brunswick. Washow owns Shift of Maine, a sustainable-goods store on Maine Street. Her nephew, Spencer, visiting from Illinois, is perched atop the sheets.

BRUNSWICK

There’s nothing like the feel of the wind in your linens.

To satisfy that particular jones, or simply because of the thrill of costumed competition, nine teams will drift and drag down Park Row on Saturday during the second annual Rolling Slumber Bed Race.

The race is part of Early Bird Weekend organized by the Brunswick Downtown Association as a draw for shoppers looking to get an early start on their holiday retailing.

All along the downtown district, shops and restaurants will host special deals and giveaways.

Racing begins at 11 a.m. It’s a tight, fast course that will demand racers’ full concentration.

This year’s field has grown by four teams and includes several Maine Street businesses, a theater troupe, a hotelier, a chocolatier and a Topsham contractor.

“We’re serious, we’re not messing around,” Corie Washow warned. “We’re rallying customers to be our support team.”

Washow owns Shift of Maine, a sustainable-goods store at 56 Maine St. Her team raced a bed in 2011 — to disappointing results.

“We learned a lot from last year,” said Courtney Ross, Shift’s chief bed decorator and costume design- er who said she plans to dress her teammates as chickens.

They will be called “The Laying Hens.” (It’s a bed joke.)

Washow, Ross and the rest of the Hens are so serious about winning that, rather than recycle last year’s ride, they’ve designed an entirely new bed for 2012.

Or, more accurately, occasional Shift employee and bed-building ringer Jeff Smith has designed and built one for them.

This year’s upgraded model includes a steering mechanism.

Ross, last year’s jockey, is afraid of it and wants this year to be a pusher.

“I’m terrified that I’m going to lose control of it and injure somebody,” she said.

Just one of the risks of an inherently dangerous sport.

And don’t think this bedracing craze is just a youngster’s game: A team of senior racing enthusiasts from Thornton Oaks has signed up.

Well, actually, according to executive director Don Kniseley, it’s mostly just staffers that have signed up. But Kniseley said he’s hopeful that some of the retirement community’s residents will turn out for the spectacle.

“We’re still sort of putting it together,” Kniseley said, referring both to the racing team’s roster and the bed itself.

He enlisted the Thornton Oaks maintenance staff to cobble together the bed. And somebody, he’s not quite sure who yet, will make an appearance dressed as the facility’s namesake, Matthew Thornton, a patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence whose father, James, lived in Brunswick during the early 1700s.

Meanwhile, back in town, the crew from Maine State Music Theatre is about halfway through the assembly of its entry.

Amy Mussman, who normally runs the props shop at Maine State Music Theatre, is overseeing racing prep this week, and will serve as pit crew chief for the theater’s team Saturday.

“It’s our first time doing this, but we’ve done a bit of research,” Mussman said. “We’ve looked at what people have used in the past — what kind of casters work the best, that kind of thing.”

Goal number one: Hold together.

No carbon-fiber or aluminum here. The Maine State Music Theatre team is approaching Saturday’s heat with an Eastern Bloc-design state of mind: Build it sturdy, because you can’t win if your ride disintegrates before the finish line.

Goal number two: Win, and be theatrical about it.

“We’ve had a couple of meetings about this,” Mussman said. “We’re going to dress as characters from productions, and we’re trying to decide which ones.”

Box office manager Susie Sharp will ride atop the sheets — yes, Brunswick Downtown Association’s official bed racing rules manual requires the beds to have, um, “bedding” — as the jockey; Lee Gilman, Kurt Alger, Gretchen Dismukes and Gordon Rennell will be propulsion.

The situation is right for potential upset, however, as 2011 winners Cool As A Moose of 128 Maine St. appear to be relying on reputation rather than preparation for their upcoming title defense.

“We’re using the same bed as last year,” swaggered store manager Missy Grillo, who added that even the decorations and uniforms — tiedyes, stickers and trademark moose antler hats — remain unadulterated. “We don’t see any reason to change. We’re going to have some veteran bed-racers on the team,” Grillo said.

Under intense media scrutiny, she later admitted her team may have been a little lax in its off-season regimen.

“Well, we haven’t started training or decided on the jockeys and runners yet,” she said. “I guess we’ll have to do some trials.”

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