Miles of Sycamore Memories

2012 Homecoming — By on September 14, 2012 10:47 am

And they’re off! Johnny Shipman (back to the camera) flagged the inaugural Sycamore Tricycle Derby, held on the Quad.

A uniquely Sycamore tradition will be honored during Indiana State University’s 2012 Homecoming celebration.

Homecoming weekend will kick off with the 50th running of the Sycamore Tricycle Derby beginning with the alumni race at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct 5.  The teams participating in the men’s and women’s races reflect campus life – sororities, fraternities, residence halls and student organizations. There will be a special reception for former trike riders during the race in the Bareford classroom at the Michael Simmons Student Activity Center.

The inaugural trike race, organized by Michael Simmons, Debbie Hulman Bareford and Tom Bareford, to encourage students to stay on campus for Homecoming weekend, was ran on the Quad on Oct. 11, 1963.

“People were on top of buildings and hanging out the windows. It was really a lot of fun,” Simmons recalled.

But that first race wasn’t without some unexpected challenges, ranging from locating tricycles to staying healthy.

The first challenge was locating tricycles that could withstand the race. For assistance, the students turned to Debbie Bareford’s father, Gordon Hulman, an employee of Hulman and Co. Debbie Bareford, a 1964 alumna, recalled how her father searched for suppliers who carried larger tricycles.

“My dad helped us to try to find bigger trikes and we just couldn’t do it,” she said.

The tricycles used in the first race, Murray velocipedes, were ordered through the 1962-63 Hulman and Co. Gift Catalog. They arrived and were retrofitted to be stronger before participants hopped on them for the first time.

Another situation proved to be more of an inconvenience than a challenge.

The founders of the Sycamore Tricycle Derby – Michael Simmons, Debbie Hulman Bareford and Tom Bareford – at the dedication of the Michael Simmons Student Activity Center in 2005

“Michael got pneumonia about 10 days before the race and spent the following week in the infirmary. He was directing what was going to be done at the race from the infirmary. The rest of us hustled around, met the challenge and we got it done somehow,” Tom Bareford said.

“But I was well enough to participate the day of the race,” Simmons added.

Tom Bareford, a 1964 alumnus, recalled a quick trip to the store in order to remedy another challenge the group had to overcome – how to identify the riders.

“We had paper plates that were safety-pinned onto their jerseys. Each rider had a number – the first number was their team. The second number identified the rider on that team,” he said.

Simmons may have his name in the history books as a race founder, but he credits the students that followed him with continuing the trike race, one of the oldest homecoming traditions in the United States.

“This is the result of lots of people keeping it [the trike race] alive. The original team planted the seed and then there were hundreds of people, over the past four decades that kept adding more to the event.  They have added to the history, function and organization until today it is an important event each year at ISU.  I am so proud of the students that followed us and continued the camaraderie and the spirit of the Trike Derby,” he said.

Johnny Shipman presents the flags to the winners of the first women’s race to the ladies of Reeve Hall.

The Indiana State University Alumni Association will hold the Second Annual Alumni Trike Race, which will kick off the longtime Sycamore tradition at 4:30 p.m.  Teams will consist of 2-6 members for women and 2-10 members for men, with each member riding at least one lap.  The men will complete 10 total laps as a team and women’s teams will complete six laps.

Alumni  interested in organizing a team will need to gather names of team members, affiliation/team name, email addresses, phone numbers, and graduation year.  That information should be emailed to Gary Ballinger at  or call 1-800-258-6478.

 Activities ramp up on Saturday, Oct. 6, beginning with the 96th annual Blue and White Parade at 9 a.m., led by a trio of Grand Parade Marshals – Simmons, Debbie and Tom Bareford.

 The parade will begin at Ninth and Cherry streets, traveling down Wabash Avenue to Fifth Street and finishing up on campus.

Following the parade, the festivities continue at Memorial Stadium with Tent City, featuring live entertainment. Former trike riders are encouraged to stop by the Alumni Tent to view a special display honoring the 50th running of trike. Homecoming wouldn’t be complete without football  — Indiana State will host Missouri State beginning at 3:05 p.m.

For more information about ISU Homecoming activities, go to  , email   or call 812-237-3852.

Stay up-to-date on Facebook:

 50th running of Trike –!/ISUTrike50

Indiana State University Homecoming –!/IndianaStateUniversityHomecoming

Paula Meyer, ’91, is the communications and marketing coordinator for Indiana State University.

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  1. Tamarah Sherrard says:

    I am in the picture above, short, dark hair, standing behind Terry, Lady on the Trike. We were the first winners in the first race at ISU. It was a thrill to represent Reeve Hall and ISU in setting long lasting standards for the race.

  2. De Davis says:

    I was fortunate to be on the winning women’s trike team in 1974 or 75 (not sure which) for Pickerl Hall. We had the disadvantage of starting in last position, and I remember the starter laughing as he lined us up. However, our team consisted of several track and b-ball players, and we actually trained twice a day for weeks in advance! Guess we showed Mr. Starter.
    OK friends, any of ya out there? Coach Lisa, Ep, Lynn, McCann,…?
    De Davis

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