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No Sleeping on the Job

Riddle: What has many beds but no one sleeping? 

A flower garden? A mattress store? Well yes, both of those, but we were actually thinking of the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Great Bed Races! 

First held in 1990 as “Bedlam in the Streets” on the cobblestone streets in downtown Louisville’s Theatre Square, the Great Bed Races is a beloved Derby Week tradition. Premier and other businesses create themed mobile beds—a standard full-sized bed with four wheels, a steering wheel, and no engine. The “horsepower” comes from four runners pushing the race bed steered by a driver. The themed beds are paraded before being raced, two at a time, on a track laid out by orange cones, now held at Broadbent Arena, with thousands of spectators cheering them on.  

Sample themes over the years have included “Through the Decades” (2022), with teams decorating their beds in their favorite movies, music, fashion, TV shows and sports; “Sweet Dreams” (2021), celebrating favorite desserts, candies, and sweets in the bed decorations, with no spectators allowed due to COVID; “Race for the Cause” (2018), with beds decorated for the charity of the team’s choice; and the self-explanatory “Capes, Masks and Super-Powers” (2012).   

With this year’s event on April 29 is themed “Celebrating Derby 150,” in honor of the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby. We thought it’d be fun to look back at some of Premier’s memorable bed race entries. 

KDF Bed Races 2015 - Premier Packaging Operation theme

2015Ultimate Game Day

Premier’s take – try to use packaging materials and make our bed into the Operation game board. This was our first year entering.

Premier Packaging team celebrating their KDF 2016 Bed Race win


 2016Race for the Cup

This theme was tough and the committee spent many long meetings deliberating on their final decisions for decor. They landed on the sailboat race, America’s Cup, decorating the bed minimally to look like a sailboat on the water. This ended up being our first win!

Premier packaging team dressed in cow costumes for the 2017 KDF Bed Races
2017 – Louisville on the Move

We decided to have some extra fun with this one and played around with the word MOOve. Luckily we did – our cow pajama costumes came in handy on this 40 degree day! 


Premier Packaging KDF 2018 Bed Race Team

2018 – Race for the Cause

This year we chose a local charity we support and raced for them. As winners that year, the KDF Bed Races gave a charitable donation to our charity!

Premier Packaging KDF Bed Race team 2019



2019 – Pegasus Power

The committee went pretty literal on this one and had our design team create a corrugated Pegasus horse. Our runners then dressed in togas. 

2020 – COVID 🙁 
Superman throwing fake punch at dinosaur during KDF Bed Races
2021 – Sweet Dreams

Due to Covid, this was a participant only year and the races were held outside. The concrete was a much different surface than usual but our team came in first place in the Fun Division with a time of 33.4 seconds!

Premier Packaging bed for the 2022 KDF Bed Races
2022 – Video Games

Had to take the most obvious choice here and go with Mario Kart! The Races were held back inside Broadbent and let’s just say it wasn’t our best year returning to the inside forum. 

Premier Packaging KDF 2023 Bed Races
2023 – Through the Decades

We celebrated famous musicians through out the decades including Prince, Taylor Swift, Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake, and Garth Brooks. 


The Bed Races may seem silly, but they show our hometown pride as well as the way our employees work together to achieve our goals. If we bring this much excitement, originality, and determination to creating a decorated bed, imagine what we can accomplish with your packaging. Contact us today to find out more.