Silver City, NM- Nearing the end of spring semester, with finals looming and graduation right around the corner, the university celebrates a local tradition known as the Great Race. The annual tradition celebrated it’s fiftieth year this past Saturday, with festivities including a bowling night, a powderpuff football game, field activities, a talent show, a pool party and finally, the Great Race itself. While the infamous Great Race team “Bomb Squad” sat out this year, the teams “Little Rascals,” “C’s Get Degrees” and the Social Work team (this year dubbed “The Pirates”) were back to compete, along with three new teams: “Kash Kings,” “Misfits,” and “Plan B.”
The week started off with a bang, with many students gathering at the Silver Lanes Bowling Alley for a very brief night of bowling. The venue was reportedly packed with bodies, with many students soon departing for one of the unofficial Great Race after-parties. Great Race week functions somewhat like the 2013 film The Purge and it’s sequels, only instead of a twelve hour period where crime is legal, it’s a week-long period in which students become more social and there tends to be a larger amount of partying among students. Great Race Week can often function as a release before the dreaded finals week, or can be seen as one last hurrah for graduating seniors.
Tuesday brought about an intense powderpuff football game, with the boys performing slick dance moves on the sidelines while the girls battled on the field, at one point almost literally. The Little Rascals ended up taking home the top spot following the Powderpuff Game, taking an early lead.
The following day was field day, which featured a number of games including volleyball, dodgeball and a game sponsored by The Center for Gender Equity called “A Mile in Her Shoes.” Security was noticeably tight at this event. Campus police had a presence at every event, including two parked vehicles at Field Day. Students also received an email from Vice President Brundage warning them not to bring any outside water bottles or beverages to any Great Race event, lest they be searched and arrested. This was presumably to limit any possible alcohol use at the campus events. Field Day ended with Little Rascals and C’s Get Degrees at a tie for first place.
The C’s won the following competition “Who’s Got the Speed?,” in which teams performed initial races with their carts. The new teams ended up dominating that evenings talent show, with the Misfits taking first place following a performance of “We’re All In This Together” from Disney’s High School Musical. Kash Kings took second place, with Harry Wetton and Ross White giving the crowd a heartfelt tribute to Jon Heder and Will Ferrell’s final dance number in Blades of Glory. Kash Kings continued their momentum, taking first place in Friday’s canned food drive, before all teams celebrated in Friday night’s pool party at C-Rec.
Finally, on Saturday morning, the big day had arrived. The weather had played a trick this year and as opposed to the boiling heat of Great Race 49, a cold wind and rolled into Great Race 50. Despite the ironic 50 degree temperature and the chills brought forth from the wind, racers, clubs, alumni and community members all came out to take part in the fiftieth Great Race. As clubs braved the elements and set up their booths, and the WNMU mariachis played for the crowd, the six teams prepared for the race. Finally, after some words from University President Joseph Shepard and the release of the balloons, the racers were off.
The Little Rascals took an early lead, with C’s Get Degrees close behind. Misfits and Kash Kings were up next, with Plan B and the Pirates bringing up the rear. Little Rascals pulled off quite a display of teamwork and upper body strength when they elected to carry their cart over the infamous Great Race mud pit as opposed to driving through it. At the end of the race, Little Rascals ended up taking first place, with C’s Get Degrees averaging their way to second and Misfits and Kash Kings taking third and fourth place respectively.
Following a single lap race between an Early Childhood team and an Alumni team, Abe Villareal and the Great Race team announced the winners of the Great Race Week. Misfits took home the third place trophy, while second place went to C’s Get Degrees and first was handed to the Little Rascals. However the largest trophy, awarded to the team with the most Great Race spirit, was given to Kash Kings, who received their trophy with much enthusiasm.
Once the race was complete, the teams departed and the spectators that remained hit the local booths. The Student Social Work Club was grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, while the Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society had a nerf gun shooting gallery. Other people attempted to climb the rock wall and ride a mechanical bull. All things considered, despite the elements, the fiftieth annual Great Race was undoubtedly a success.
The next big event for the WNMU community will be Spring Commencement, held on Friday, May 12.