Goshen News, Goshen, IN


April 14, 2013

FROM THE SIDELINES: Goshen Relays history is rich

GOSHEN — Every few years on these pages we like to educate the younger generation on the history of The Goshen Relays.

The 71st edition of one of the Midwest’s larger boys track and field carnivals is scheduled for next Saturday at Foreman Field on the Goshen High School campus.

The inaugural Goshen Relays occurred on May 1, 1926 with the temperature soaring to 94 degrees by mid-afternoon.

There were 277 athletes from 20 schools entered in that debut extravaganza with about 1,000 spectators at Foreman which was only three years old at that time.

Gary Emerson was the team champion 87 years ago with Elkhart second and Goshen fifth.

Dan Yoder, John McNames, Alvin “Nate” Warstler and Bernard Paine of the host Redskins won a medley relay event in 1927. After the 1928 Relays, the event would disappear for 18 years.

Paul Underwood and Lundy Welborn are given credit for reviving The Goshen Relays on April 20, 1946 and it has been an annual event ever since.

It was also 67 years ago that Leroy “Toby” Yoder became the first honorary referee of The Relays and Barbara Stoner the first queen.

Jerry Rarick of the Goshen “Red Ramblers” set a Class A mile run record in 1947 with a time of 4:42 and received his award from queen Jane Schwalm and honorary referee R.B. Kelly.

The Gary Roosevelt Panthers won the first of their 26 Class A team championships in 1947 and many of those squads went on to capture state titles. The Black and  Gold helped attract huge crowds to Foreman in those days.

Goshen's 880-yard relay foursome of Dick Cripe, Lynn Smalley, Bill Detwiler and Pug Hoover won its 1952 heat with honorary referee Gerald D. Phillips and queen Anna Chapman watching.

Max Truex of Warsaw was a distance running sensation that year. Lloyd “Bunk” Williams, GHS basketball great of the late 1920s, was honorary referee and Peg Berlin queen in 1954.

Lynn Smalley, Stan Warnick, Paul Hinckley and Bing Pratt of the Redskins won an 880-yard relay heat.

The 1960s featured some of the greater athletes in Relays history — like sprinter Bernie Rivers of East Chicago Washington and hurdler Jerry Saffell of the LaPorte Slicers.

Rivers’ 100-yard dash time of 9.6 seconds has been converted to 10.5 for 100 meters and he still shares that record.

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Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

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