When eight students first brainstormed the idea of the Great Race in 1967, they could only imagine that the race would become an annual event enduring well over 50 years. But this April, WNMU will continue the tradition with a week-long slate of activities.
Ashley Templeton, Student Leadership Coordinator at WNMU, has been working with students to plan and coordinate the event, and she expects a busy week. She describes Great Race as a large-scale event and said that it brings an “air of excitement” to campus.
As in previous years, the event is designed not only to provide entertainment, but to further the sense of community. This is what Rebeca Portillo Parra, a ’22 graduate and current MBA student, found last year. Portillo Parra, who is originally from Mexico, helped push the car for the “Little Rascals” team last year. “I had the opportunity to make new friends and bond with them,” said Portillo Parra, “This tradition is unique and it’s interesting how everything takes place on campus.”
Kacie Peterson, Director of Foundation and Alumni Development at WNMU, also values how the race brings people together. “The Great Race offers a chance for students to interact with each other outside of the classroom as well as meet alumni who had similar experiences when they were students,” she said, “The event instills pride and bragging rights and brings everyone together.”
Drawing in the community this year will be an outdoor concert on the stage at Regents Square featuring the award-winning rock and country band The Mavericks with opening act McKinley James on Saturday, April 22. Food and beverages will also be available that day.
Other events during the week include a kick-off bowling party Monday, April 17 at the Silver Bowling Center, the King of the Hill competition on Cardiac Hill, the pit crew competition and “Who’s Got the Speed” contest, among other events. The race itself, which begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 22 at Old James Stadium, is no longer “the only method of naming the champion team,” said Peterson. Instead, the various events throughout the week help each team earn points.
No matter which team wins this year’s competition, the event promises to bring extra excitement to campus. Templeton is especially looking forward to experiencing the camaraderie and dedication of students during the race week. “Seeing students excited and going all-in is really fun,” she said. During the race, Templeton said, students take “pride in being on a team and being a Mustang.”
To learn more about Great Race, view a schedule of events, or register a team to participate, visit Mustang Entertainment.