April 20, 2012
I was there for the First Great Race (and the second as well). It was “invented” by several students who were looking to do just what the article points out-bring students together for a feeling of spirit and oneness with each other and the University. As I remember the Great Race was fashioned on the Little 500 Bike Race that takes place each year at Indiana University. We had a “race commission”, a big banquet and of course a winner’s circle. In year two we had live local coverage from the now defunct KSIL radio of both the banquet and the race. Everyone was involved. Everyone had pride in what we were doing at WNMU.
The group I was with had two entries the first year. A well designed racer that resembled something from the Indy 500 and a double bed to which we fitted wheels. I recall we took second place with the “Indy Car”. But alas the Letterman’s Club was first spurred on by the athletes in the final leg. The double bed broke down on library hill. But great fun.
In year two our group obtained the sponsorship of the local Chevy dealer who helped us build a better version of the “Indy Car”. Made of fiberglass with racing tires we had no doubt it would take first place in the Second Great Race. Our driver was a veteran of the first Great race and the team knew what was needed and trained for the event. (I won’t tell you what the training was but it didn’t necessarily involve physical exercise.). Once again we were done in by fate. The car rolled over several times when making the first left turn off of College street to ? street. Its was flying. I don’t remember if we designed brakes in the vehicle or not. The driver survived.
That the Great Race has survived all these years is a great testament to those that began this tradition oh so many years ago and to the generations of WNMU students who have kept it alive all these years. I can’t make it this year but here is hoping everyone has a great time and keeps the tradition alive at WNMU.
April 24, 2012
Thanks for your comment and taking the time to read our Greatrace story.
July 4, 2013
Nicely written Buddy! Brings back a lot of memories. The Great Race will live continue to live in a lot of folks minds … remember when?
Best, Ken ’68
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October 14, 2013
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