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Last modified: Thursday, April 10, 2003

Little 500 tradition continues at Indiana University Bloomington

Cycling at Armstrong Stadium April 25-26

EDITORS: Information and a credentials request form for media wishing to cover race activities will be distributed on April 16. Call 812-855-3911 to request a copy.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Little 500 bicycle race began 53 years ago as a way to raise scholarship money for working students. It has been the subject of an Academy Award-winning film and numerous news reports and sports broadcasts. Today, it is the premier intramural collegiate cycling event in the nation.

Little 500 race activities began on March 29 with qualifications and lead up to the women's and men's bicycle races on April 25-26. Other Little 500 events include preliminary bicycling competitions and a new feature, the Little Fifty Running Race on Sunday (April 13).

Now in its 16th year, the women's Little 500 will be on April 25 at 4 p.m. CDT. The Roadrunners, an independent team, will defend its 2002 victory against 30 other teams at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Since 1988, more than 1,100 women have ridden in the race.

On April 26 at 2 p.m., riders for Phi Gamma Delta fraternity will try to win the men's race from their pole position, competing against 32 other teams. Since its beginnings 50 years ago, more than 6,500 men have ridden in the Little 500.

Any full-time undergraduate student at IU Bloomington can ride in the Little 500, and most riders have never competed in any other cycling race.

In addition to the excitement of the competition, the race has raised more than $1 million in scholarship money for working IU students. Last year, all proceeds from the race were used to create three new 9-11 scholarships, established with the support of three IU students who lost parents in the attack on the World Trade Center. However, through years of changing trends, the purpose of the event remains the same -- "helping those who help themselves."

Tickets for the Little 500 races are available at any TicketMaster location or through the IU Student Foundation Web site at http://www.iusf.org. All-event tickets cost $20 for adults and $5 for children aged 12 and under. Single-event adult tickets are $10 for the women's race and $15 for the men's race. For more ticket information, call 812-855-RACE.

The race was created by the late Howard S. "Howdy" Wilcox, who patterned it after the Indianapolis 500, which his father had won in 1919. He was inspired by a bicycle race he saw involving students racing around a dormitory, with several women leaning out of windows and cheering them on. He convened the IU Student Foundation, told them what he had seen and proposed the Little 500 as a means of raising scholarship money for students working their way through college. The first race was held in 1951.

The Oscar-winning motion picture Breaking Away brought moviegoers from all over the world to Bloomington and the excitement of the Little 500. This national exposure caused CBS and ESPN to show the race on live and taped television. Celebrities such as Bob Hope, David Letterman, John Mellencamp and world champion cyclist Lance Armstrong have drawn the national spotlight with them when they come to Bloomington to enjoy the festivities. Thousands of students who have experienced the excitement of the race return with their families to enjoy the Little 500 tradition.

This year, the race will be presented in high-definition television by HDNet, which is distributed by DirectTV and Charter to their HDTV subscribers.

Below is information on other upcoming Little 500 activities and major campus happenings that weekend:

-- An 8K Scholarship Run and the inaugural Little Fifty Running Race will be on Sunday (April 13). The scholarship run will begin at 11 a.m. and the Little Fifty will begin at 2 p.m. The Little Fifty will feature both a men's and women's running race consisting of 33 teams of four students each. It will be a 50-lap relay competition with many awards and prizes. Proceeds raised from the race will go toward the philanthropy designated by the winning women's and men's teams.

Both events will take place at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex, located east of North Fee Lane across from Assembly Hall and Gladstein Fieldhouse. Admission is included for those purchasing Little 500 tickets; otherwise admission is $5.

-- The Bill Armstrong Memorial Golf Classic will begin at 8 a.m. on April 25 at the IU Golf Course, located on the Ind. 45/46 Bypass. Pre-registration for participants is required, and space is limited.

-- On April 25 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Stadium, the IU football team will scrimmage in its annual Cream and Crimson Game. Admission and parking will be free. Concession stands and the IU Varsity Shop will be open. Gates will open at 5:30 pm.

-- The Little 500 Barbeque will begin at 11 a.m. on April 26 at the soccer practice field adjacent to Armstrong Stadium.

-- The annual spring concert of the IU Soul Revue will be at 8 p.m. on April 26 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. in downtown Bloomington. Advance tickets are available at the theater's Sunrise Box Office costing $13 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets will be $17 and $12 on the day of the performance.

-- Also on April 26 beginning at 6 p.m. will be the "Little Five Step Down" at the IU Auditorium. This year's host will be Rickey Smiley from BET's program, "Comic View." Participation in this year's competition has been opened to include both Greek and non-Greek step teams. The event is co-sponsored by the Indiana Memorial Union Board and the IU Pan-Hellenic Council.