Friday's Homecoming Bed Race introduces new division
The Homecoming Steering Committee has been planning for the 33rd annual Homecoming Bed Race since March. Road closures, barricades and a noise ordinance was all in order through the University Police Department for the event.
Forty teams will race at noon Friday on Riverside Avenue.
Special events chairwoman Amber Moore said she this year's Bed Race is different from the past Homecoming.
"We tried to make this event unique this year by making sure that everyone is involved," the senior sports administration major said.
This is the first year there will be a faculty, staff and alumni division, Moore said. This new division opened the way for two teams to participate, the social work department and the resident hall association team.
"The creation of this new division is about incorporating what Homecoming is about, and faculty is part of that, too," Moore said.
One of the teams participating under the division is the faculty of the social work department. Shannon Staton, an assistant professor and practicum coordinator in the department, will suit up with other social work faculty in running gear and matching "Go Cards!" sweatbands. Each member will have giant playing cards on their backs.
"Our team will be a royal flush," Staton said.
Staton said department chair Glenn Stone will ride on the bed. She said team gathered to compete in this event to show "school spirit and enjoy the festivities with the students" and the department is enthusiastic about the all-faculty team and will cheer them on.
"We want to celebrate Homecoming and have fun with our coworkers and the students," Staton said. "We are just hoping we can make it to the finish line."
Moore shares Staton's excitement for this turn in tradition.
"Over the years, we hope the tradition for faculty and alumni builds," Moore said.
Also new this year is the re-engineering of the racing beds. Moore said there was need for emergency personnel last year. This year, committee aims to cut back on issues by making the beds safer for the race track.
The poles at the end, which once stood out, are now curved into handles. The head of the beds are also complete with curved handles, like a shopping cart, so runners can push from behind rather than risk injury by running next to the bed. There have also been improvements on the wheels, since there were some wheels lost in the heat of the dash. The Homecoming committee met with welders to make the improved racing vessels.
"The welders were really excited to work with the Bed Race," Moore said. "It was really fun for them and they got to test the beds out."
Event sponsors such as Red Bull and Little Debbie will hand out free energy drinks and snacks to students at the Bed Race.
Moore transferred last year to Ball State and remembers first hearing of the tradition.
"I came here and I thought it was crazy when I first heard about it," Moore said. "But really, it's a creative event - it's really exciting to be a part of."