by Ken Getchell
March 19, 2010 – Conshohocken, PA, USA: HUP United’s Chip Baker never thought he’d be happy to see his name on a pig’s butt. Last year, Baker inadvertently sponsored the piggy bank trophy that was awarded to Al Donahue as winner of the featured event at the inaugural New Jersey State Fair SpectaCross in Augusta, New Jersey. This year, Baker is not only intentionally sponsoring the Chip Baker Trophy for the winner of the Garden State Open at the New Jersey State Fair SpectaCross, he and his HUP United team are also co-sponsoring a similar Piggy Bank Tophy for the Women’s winner of the SpectaCross’ Battle of the Sexes event: the HUPiggy Trophy. Better yet, Baker is stuffing the HUPiggy bank with $250 so that the day’s fastest Woman is guaranteed to win at least as much as the winner of the Garden State Open. In fact, with overall prizes also being awarded in the Battle of the Sexes (which pits Elite Women against Junior Men) and women also being eligible for the Garden State Open, it’s likely that the Women’s winner of the HUPiggy will take home more cash than any other racer at SpectaCross.
Baker’s career in trophy husbandry started almost entirely without his knowledge. One of the many ways that SpectaCross is unusual is its liberal refund policy for pre-entrants who can’t attend. “Chip e-mailed us and said a family obligation meant he wasn’t going to be able to come to last year’s inaugural race,” said Ken Getchell of SpectaSport, the promoters of the event. “We offered to refund his pre-reg like we did for others who couldn’t make it, but he refused our offer and made an off-handed comment to ‘use it to buy a trophy or something’. So on race morning I went shopping through the State Fair for something that we could use as a trophy. I eventually found these custom-painted piggy banks, so I had one done up with Chip’s name painted on the piggy’s butt, and ran back to the races on other side of the Fair. The funny thing is, we never bothered to tell Chip that we named a trophy after him. A couple of weeks ago, we were teasing him on FaceBook about it when he told us he actually really enjoyed it and wanted sponsor a trophy for the Women’s race as well.” Will Baker’s largesse end the teasing on social network sites? “Probably not,” laughs Getchell, “SpectaCross has its own network on BikeClicks.com and we haven’t teased him there yet.”
The New Jersey State Fair SpectaCross is the only cyclocross in the world to take place as a featured entertainment event at a major Agricultural Fair. This year’s race, which takes place on the opening two days of the Fair, August 6-7, will once again take place in the 5,000 seat Monster Truck/Tractor Pull stadium and the surrounding area. After seeing last year’s muddy mess, the Fair’s management asked the race organizers to let them dump over 3,000 gallons of water on the arena floor for this year’s race because “that was fun to watch”. Starting with the Cyclocross Magazine Friday Night Sprints, SpectaCross consists of a mixture of both serious racing and lighthearted events such as the Revolution Wheelworks PokerCross (a cyclocross poker run) and the Bike Clicks Classy “Class(sic)”, where competitors compete in randomly suggested and seldom-seen classes such as “Red Sox Nation” and “Left-Handed Bald Guys”. Registration is already open at BikeReg.com, and more information can be found at www.SpectaCross.com.