Sycamore Tricycle Derby

Friday, Oct. 13, 2017
Michael Simmons Student Activity Center
Teams report at 3:30pm

Friday, Oct. 20, 2017
Michael Simmons Student Activity Center

Sycamore Trike Derby Calendar for 2017 (PDF) 
Updated 8/18/17

A bit of history about the Trike Derby

The Sycamore Tricycle Derby and the Making of a Homecoming Tradition
By Cinda May, historian

Trike Starting pointOn October 11, 1963 at 3:15 p.m. the students, faculty and staff of Indiana State College witnessed an event destined to become one of the university’s most enduring traditions—The Sycamore Tricycle Derby. “The spectator interest in the Derby was very high,” reported the Indiana Statesman. “[People] were lined up four and five deep all around the track, hanging out of classroom windows, and standing on top of buildings so that they could get a good view of the race.” Johnny Shipman, U.S. Auto Club and assistant starter at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, dropped the green flag, first for the women’s powder puff division and later for the men’s race, a position he holds still to this day. Students representing Reeve and Parsons Halls and all of the sororities and fraternities pedaled children’s tricycles furiously for ten laps around a portion of the Old Quad. The winners of the first race were Reeve Hall for the women and Parson Hall for the men. The race was run on the sidewalk around the main Quad for four years using children’s tricycles. Teams consisted of both men’s and women’s organizations, derived from sororities, fraternities, and residence hall students. During the four years on the small tricycles, students began to take the race seriously. They sought a more competitive challenge and wanted a faster paced race. Although no one knew it at the time, the “Trike Race” would become an integral part of Indiana State University’s homecoming tradition.

The contest altered in form as it moved from the Old Quad (1963-1966) to Marks Field (1967-1978, 1980-1991) to the ISU Driver’s Education Course at the Vigo County Fairgrounds (1992-1999) to Recreation East on the Indiana State University campus (2000-present). Terre Haute South High School furnished a home for the race in 1979. With each change of track the race committee adapted the rules. The first fundamental alteration occurred when the students’ competitive spirit outgrew the Old Quad and the children’s velocipede. The desire for victory clamored for a more robust tricycle.

From 1967 through 1971, the race consisted of forty full laps for men and twenty half laps for women with the pits located at the front and the back of the track. The large number of participants required dividing the races into heats with the top finishing teams contending in the final feature events. Each team consisted of four riders. An ice cream social capped the occasion.

The Sycamore Tricycle Derby continued at Marks Field from 1972 to 1976 as forty full laps for the men and twenty full laps for the women. The teams consisted of six riders with one alternate. The woman and man with the fastest qualifying lap received the honorific of “Hot Wheels” for the first time in 1973. The race committee extended the women’s race to twenty-four full laps in 1977. The Sycamore Tricycle Derby returned to Marks Field in 1980 and the committee lengthened the women’s race to twenty-five full laps. In 2003, the women’s race was extended to 30 laps and the men’s extended to 42 laps.

In 2004 the Trike Committee in collaboration with Indiana State University’s Facilities Management Staff painted permanent pit and racing lines on the track at Recreation East.
The Michael Simmons Student Activities Center stands in testament to the endurance of a homecoming tradition. Dedicated on October 21, 2005, the building contains the Susan Bareford Memorial Classroom, storage for the trikes, restrooms, bleachers for onlookers, and a covered observation deck.

The impact of the Sycamore Tricycle Derby on its proponents is indelible. Riders across the decades speak passionately of the experience. Dedication, hard work, persistence, courage, cooperation, camaraderie, bonds that last a lifetime, all describe the meaning of trike to its participants

From its “kick-in-the-butt” origins in 1963 to its sophisticated organization in the twenty-first century, the Sycamore Tricycle Derby endures as a homecoming tradition at Indiana State University.

Recreational Sports Cycling Council

The Recreational Sports Cycling Council has primary oversight and coordination of the annual Homecoming Trike and Spring Week Tandem races. The Cycling Council will have a total of eleven members and will serve for one academic year. The composition of the Cycling Council is as follows: five student at-large appointments, two liaison representatives from the Hulman Memorial Student Union Board, a designee from the ISU Alumni Association Office, a representative from the Terre Haute Business Community, an appointee by Residential Life, and the Associate Director of Recreational Sports.

Student Members of the Cycling Council will ultimately be assigned to and responsible for one subcommittee of the Cycling Council. Cycling Council members are ultimately responsible for recruiting individuals to serve on the Cycling Council Volunteer Corp that will be established. Candidates for the Recreational Sports Cycling Council must embrace the following tenants as a potential member:

  • To serve as ambassadors in the promotion and advancement of the Indiana State University Trike and Tandem Races to the ISU Community.
  • To serve as servant leader in the recruitment, instruction, and providing support to first year riders and respective teams.
  • To serve as representatives of the Office of Recreational sports and as a liaison with the Trike and Tandem Race Community.

Cycling Council Sub-Committees

Race Coordination Committee – Responsible for securing the starters of the race, Announcer, Safety Patrol, Bike Tech Inspectors, Lap Counters, Score Keepers, and other officials required in the coordination of the event for both the qualification and actual race events.

New Rider Recruitment Committee -Develop and implement strategies that would encourage students to establish teams and would lead to their participation in these events.

Festivities and Awards Committee - Responsible for creating a high energy environment which will be staged at the Michael Simmons Facility and potentially in the Student Recreation Center, as well. It will also include establishing and maintaining the permanent archives and display of the history of the race, Hot Wheel winners, and pictures of the winning teams.

Qualification Day Non-cycling Event Committee – Develop events that would be indirectly related to the race that could be made available to youth such as a big wheels race for age related youth and other special events for college students.

Marketing Committee – Responsible for the development of advertising, securing sponsors, and the potential development of merchandise that would be sold to support the races. The committee will work with various local and national businesses for the purposes of developing a comprehensive plan to promote the respective events.

Qestions? Contact at 812-237-8974.