By James Vukmirovic
More than 2,000 people watched a wheelbarrow race around the streets of a Wiltshire village last week.
The Wheelbeero at Pewsey is a highlight of the village carnival and sees wheelbarrows of stunning design and participants in their best fancy dress compete to win, while stopping at some of the nine beer stops along the route.
Heavy rain did not dim the enthusiasm of the 185 teams that took part on Thursday.
Rob Boyd, a Pewsey local who has been involved in the Wheelbeero for 19 years, always tries to put out a wheelbarrow that makes a mark.
He said: “It was us and the neighbours and we thought, oh, that looks like good fun and we’d really like to have a go at doing that, so let’s see what we can pull together.
“Over the years, we’ve done Star Wars, we built a shed last year and called it Motorshed, where we all put lights on our hats, we had very loud music, we were very loud!
“This time of year is better than Christmas, it’s like our Christmas. For us adults, this is our Christmas day when we do the Wheelbarrow event.”
The Wheelbero attracts teams from as far afield as Wolverhampton, Manchester and a team from Seattle, who came to visit a cousin in the village and enjoyed the event so much that they came back to take part.
It takes a lot of volunteers to put the event together including marshals along the course, at beer stops and other volunteers who do the administration of the event.
Tony Burke travels from South West London with his partner Julia and said that the Wheelbeero Race is something unique to the village.
He said: “I’d never seen anything like this before and I thought it was absolutely fantastic.
“When you tell people about it, they don’t tend to get the concept, because everyone tends to have an idea of what a wheelbarrow is, whereas a wheelbarrow in the race can be adapted and designed into almost anything, which is amazing.
“By my experience, it’s something unique to Pewsey. When I was growing up, you tended to have a pram race, which was an excuse to have a pub crawl, but the Wheelbarrow event is definitely unique.
“If I lived locally, I would 1000% be involved, particularly if I could get enough of my pals over to take part.”
This might take off tonight pic.twitter.com/QYtYIZipZU
— Pewsey Carnival (@PewseyCarnival) September 20, 2018
This year the Pewsey carnival celebrated its 120th year and the Wheelbero has been a part of it for 37 years. It was started by a man called Tony Kimber in 1981, who had the idea of racing around the pubs in the village on a wheelbarrow.Carol Parsons, chairwoman of the organising committee, said she has seen it all in her time.
“It’s become a bigger part of the carnival than the procession,” she said.
“I’ve always just marshalled the event at various points around the course.
“I don’t know where people get their ideas from for the wheelbarrows though. They’re so creative and it’s just sheer joy to see everyone having such a lovely time.
“We still get between 170 and 200 entries every year and where else are you going to get that? It’s just wonderful!”