Each year since 1951, the IU Student Foundation has put on the Little 500 race through the work of IU volunteers.
IUSF is the student branch of the IU Foundation, which is in charge of collecting donations from alumni. IUSF is in charge of setting up everything that has to do with Little 500 along with giving out scholarships, grants and holding philanthropic events such as IU Day and Thank a Donor Day.
The steering committee is in charge of putting on Little 500 and multiple cycling events at Bill Armstrong Stadium.
This committee has 25 seniors who were once underclassmen volunteers for IUSF. These seniors are chosen and put into different subcommittees within IUSF, such as marketing and the spring series committee.
The members of the steering committee, along with other IUSF volunteers, spend an estimated eight hours a day for one week leading up to the race setting up for Little 500.
“It’s a group of seniors that lead 250 general members,” steering committee member Morgan Claps said.
Those general members are the underclassmen volunteers that help the steering committee organize the race. They record track times for riders, work as track managers and help riders register their practice hours.
Riders who want to participate in Little 500 have to have a minimum of 25 hours on the track at Bill Armstrong Stadium every year before they are allowed to race. The steering committee and volunteers help them achieve this by putting on cycling events in the spring and fall before Little 500.
“In the fall time we are putting on street sprints, cycle cross, Individual Time Trials and then three nights worth of Thursday race series which is just several different track style events up here at Bill Armstrong Stadium,” said Andrea Balzano, Little 500 race director. “Then in the springtime we do Individual Time Trials again, Team Pursuit and then the races themselves.”
IUSF also has a Rider's Committee, a group of 23 juniors and seniors who help rookie riders prepare for track races. They show riders cycling routes throughout Bloomington, and also gives a two-week intensive workshop which is required for all rookies to race in Little 500.
While the race is organized by a different group of seniors every year, there are only small tweaks from year-to-year.
“Each year is slightly different because we have different students putting on the events so we might have some different VIPs coming, but they run essentially the same each year,” Balzano said.
This doesn’t mean those seniors running the committee don’t feel a special connection to the race that they get to put on.
“It’s honestly the greatest thing that I think anybody on steering committee has done, it’s really a fantastic organization, met some of my best friends here and it's really cool to like leave a legacy,” Claps said. “I would say last year’s race and this year’s race I’ve put my heart and soul into so it’s cool to leave that behind.”
Editor's note: A quote in this story has been removed to address factual inaccuracies. Additionally, a previous version of this story misstated the title of Little 500 Race Director Andrea Balzano. The IDS regrets these errors.