Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Little 500 (also known popularly as the "Little Five") is a bicycle race held annually at the Bill Armstrong Stadium on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington. The race was founded in 1951 by the late Howard "Howdy" Wilcox, Jr. , Executive Director of the Indiana University Foundation , who modelled the race after the Indianapolis 500, which his father had participated in and won in 1919. Racers compete in teams of four, racing relay-style for 200 laps (50 miles) along a quarter-mile track. Thirty-three teams are selected in qualifications trials to compete in the main race.
Money raised by the event goes towards a scholarship fund for working IU students, and the race is a major social event on campus during the spring. The race has expanded into a whole weekend of activities since its original founding; the Women's Little 500 (100 laps, or 25 miles) was first held in 1988 and continues to be run each year, and other events such as the Little 500 Biathlon, Alumni Races, and the Mini 500 tricycle race add to the festivities.
The events of the Little 500 were dramatized in the 1979 movie Breaking Away, which depicts a group of Bloomington townies who enter the race as the "Cutters" (from the local Indiana limestone stonecutters) to defeat the favored fraternity team.
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