Sports column: From party coffins to naked bike rides, the sports email folder is a very strange place

Published 1:00 pm Sunday, July 16, 2023

When you work in the media, you get some strange things in your email folder.

Businesses of all kinds send you releases touting their products. One of my favorites from a few years ago was for something called “Party Coffins,” which turned coffins into custom tailgate entertainment stations complete with speakers, TVs and coolers.

Ironically, appears to be dead as a business. It’s a shame. I don’t do much tailgating, but eventually I would’ve liked to have had the most rockin’ funeral in town.

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Remember, folks, you can’t spell “funeral” without “fun.”

I somehow got onto the email list of several political candidates, none of whom are from Mississippi. It seems either the Democrats or the Republicans are the root of all evil, depending on which side is sending the email, and the apocalypse will occur the day after the election if their candidates don’t get $25 from me today.

Other emails come from public relations firms trying to arrange interviews with book authors, so-called experts, or writers pitching stories. I’m sure some are complete spam, but they provide a good chuckle.

One from last week was for what seems to be a workout studio called “Stretch Zone.” Its pitch line was, “Stretching is the new trend helping athletes increase performance.”

Maybe that’s why only the best athletes spend 30 or 40 minutes doing it before they start a game. Who knew?

Another story idea came from a marketing firm called LawnStarter as it tried to promote the World Naked Bike Ride. The firm had compared 200 U.S. cities to create a list of the 10 best and worst to ride your bike naked in. The criteria included local interest, bikeability, and lawfulness, among other metrics.

Philadelphia, Portland and Seattle topped the list. Among the bottom 10 were eight cities in Florida and Arizona, which isn’t surprising. Riding naked in those sun-drenched cities would probably cause sunburn in places you really don’t want to get sunburn.

The other two cities in the bottom 10 were Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and Jackson. Murfreesboro appears to be just a bunch of prudes. It was No. 195 in the nudist-friendly rankings.

Jackson was listed as the least cyclist-friendly city and No. 180 for safety. So maybe they tolerate walking home naked after you’re run over and your bike is stolen.

Jackson was also No. 175 in the climate category, although I’m curious how LawnStarter came up with that since New Orleans is No. 94 and Birmingham is No. 87 and Mobile is No. 64. I’m not sure it’s any more pleasant to sweat on a bike in those cities than it is in Central Mississippi.

Jackson was the only Mississippi city among the 200 measured, so it’s unclear where Vicksburg ranks. Probably best to keep your clothes on, though. In fact, let’s not ride naked anywhere. It might sound free and liberating, but eventually you’re just a sweaty, sunburned mess.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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