The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Rain and cold not enough to dampen Relays

Allie Walker ’15 takes part in the Dizzy Bat relay.  Photo by Chris Lee
Allie Walker ’15 takes part in the Dizzy Bat relay.
Photo by Chris Lee

The friendly confines of Mac Field hosted another year of the Grinnell Relays on Saturday, April 25. Not even a cold, persistent rain could dampen the spirits of the record-setting number of participants who turned out.

Organizers Hayes Gardner ’15 and Ryan Hautzinger ’15 agreed that while predictions of rain during preceding weeks cast doubt upon the viability of the operation, the event was ultimately very successful. 

“This whole last week we were surveying the weather and just getting more and more depressed, but considering how rainy it was, it was phenomenal,” Hautzinger said.

Not only did the rain fail to forestall the festivities, it heightened the spirits among those brave souls who refused to be scared off by the harsh conditions.

“Most teams, valiantly, were troopers and persevered through the weather … and I think that everyone had a really good time,” Gardner said.

“[The weather] definitely made it more fun because the people who were there were really committed to the spirit of Relays,” said Becca Richman ’15, one of the participants. “It was like tuning in and out of waves of happiness on a radio … it was pure bliss.”

Luckily, the rain stopped early in the day, sparing participants from getting too wet.

“It stopped raining around 12 p.m. so it was tolerable for egg toss. We were worried about injuries because of people slipping around and falling, but nothing happened,” Hautzinger said.

Although previous iterations of Relays have seen better weather, very few have had a better turnout.

“We had 55 teams, 312 people, which is the most since I’ve been here,” Hautzinger said.

Gardner attributed the high participation rate mostly to good marketing.

“We did a ton of campaigning and marketing trying to get everyone to sign up. In years past they didn’t table at all,” Gardner said. “Last year we tabled for six days and this year we tabled for nine days.” 

The enthusiasm on campus helped Hautzinger carry on a family tradition and to best his father, Pete Hautzinger ’84, who had also helped organize relays during his time at Grinnell.

“My dad sent me this old S&B from 1982 and the article said ‘We got 300 people this year, we’re pretty excited.’ We got more than 1982, when the drinking age was 19,” Hautzinger said.

“Our goal was to return Relays to its former glory. It used to be the biggest event of the year in the 80s. It died in the 90s and it was pretty dead five years ago, but I was pretty pleased with the turnout, and hopefully it will continue to grow,” Gardner said.

A few teams managed to distinguish themselves amongst the madness: Goat House (i.e. the football team) once again emerged as the highest scoring team while Notorious RBG won shambliest team.

“[It was] the proudest moment of my Grinnell career,” Richman, a member of Notorious RBG, said. “We made sure they had good alcohol to drink, and lots of it, but it was really more about being with our friends.”

Professor Henry Rietz, Religious Studies, was instrumental in Relays. For the second year in a row, he gave a speech to mark the beginning of the event, standing in for Professor Wayne Moyer, Political Science, who founded the event in the 70s. Hautzinger and Gardner had nothing but praise for Rietz’s speech, which was about letting the heavens bring forth Relays. After the speech, Rietz, in accordance with Relay tradition, carried a torch from the loggia to Mac Field to light a toilet on fire.

For those who missed the event, or for those who had too much fun and want to do it again, there is good news, as it seems like Relays is here to stay.

“I hope relays lasts another 43 years and more,” Gardner said. “I’ve said it before, Relays and TitHead is an underrated day. It’s the second best day of the year after Block Party, and if it continues this way we will finally recognize Relays for the glorious event that it is.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *