Preakness InfieldFest 2011: A minute-by-minute tour

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(Photo: Andrew Beaujon/TBD | Date: May. 21, 2011)

9:04 a.m.: Big Dumb Drunk Fuckers, or BDDF, is a social club in Cuba, Ill., explains Joe Barnhart, 34, who wears the T-shirt with the name across the front. Minutes earlier, he greeted another man by saying “Fuck you!”

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Long story short

InfieldFest at Preakness: Where genteel horse-racing meets alcohol-fueled terror.

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“Fuck off!” the other man responded.

“I’m in the National Guard … and I was off duty today,” says Barnhart, of Hanover, Penn. “It’s the first time in 13 years I haven’t been on duty today."

When asked how he planned to spend his day off, Barnhart responded “drinking beers and hopefully looking at titties.”

“At least 20 to 24,” He said, when asked how many drinks he planned on consuming Saturday. “Does that include shots?”

Barnhart then posed for a picture with Kegasus, the mascot of the Preakness infield, who wouldn’t let him hold up his tail. He did wink at Barnhart after the shot was snapped, though.

9:40 a.m.: Congrats to Joe Mellen, 29, a Preakness infield veteran who is getting married in a few days. His girlfriend was totally cool with this, by the way. Well. Sort of.

“She halfway supports it," says Mellen.

Most repeat Preakness visitors have an infield story and Mellen’s is a doozy. Last time he and his buddies were at infield, he says, a couple started having sex in the middle of the field. People started chanting, though he doesn’t remember what they said.

“It’s one of those things you just have to experience,” Mellen says of the infield.

Nathan Kocon of Boston is in Mellen’s group; he and his friends have been coming to infield for 10 years.. As we are talking, a man comes up to check on their beers. He works for one of the drinks vendors. “We kind of paid him extra,” says Kocon. “You gotta plan for it.” The Kocon-Mellen party has chartered a limousine for the weekend. As we are talking, the National Anthem plays.

9:55 a.m.: Kari Walker, 33, has been here before. By “here” we mean pregnant in the middle of a field full of drunk people.

Walker is nine months along with her third child, a boy. She also attended Preakness while pregnant with her 2-year-old son, Colby, and says while the race is “not as much fun,” she still enjoys it. She says that she and her husband plan on staying near Top of the Stretch, which is billed as “a deluxe alternative to regular Infield admission," according to the Preakness website.

“I know better than to insert myself into the crowd of crazies,” she says.

10:10 a.m.: Free bacon is distributed to the crowd.

10:15 a.m.: Minutes after the first round of the bikini contest, “Amazing Grace” blares over the P.A.

10:17 a.m.: First umbrella hat sighting of the day

10:44 a.m.: OVERHEARD: “Maybe I should stop drinking.”

11:23 a.m.: TBD spots a hat made out of balloons

12:05 p.m.:
Second umbrella hat spotted.

12:10 p.m.: Phil Vassar is scheduled to start playing on the Jagermeister Stage

12:19 p.m.: TBD enters the term “Phil Vassar” into a popular search engine.

12:23 p.m.: First drunk person collides with a TBD reporter.

12:25 p.m.: “Is there a horse race today?” says Phil Vassar, identified on Wikipedia as an “American country music artist.” “I’m not even sure.”

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