Derby Days culminate in chariot race for charity
Handmade chariots will race through Thornden Park as part of the Red Bull Chariot Race, which comes to Syracuse University for the first time this weekend.
The Red Bull Chariot Race on Saturday is the culmination of Derby Days, the SU chapter of Sigma Chi’s annual, weeklong philanthropy event, which began Monday. The event will be held from noon to 5 p.m. in Thornden Park and is free and open to the public, said Derby Days Chair Boo Urick.
The rules are simple: Teams of three build their own chariots and two of the teammates pull the vehicle, which the third teammate will ride in a bracketed, one-on-one race tournament, Urick said.
Sigma Chi has held Derby Days annually since its return to campus in 2008, and the event is a staple among Sigma Chi chapters nationally, said Sigma Chi president Keegan Slattery. Derby Days, a weeklong contest between teams, raises money for the Syracuse branch of the Children’s Miracle Network, a charity that helps pay medical costs for children in the area.
Urick said last year’s Derby Days raised $5,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network and 5,000 pounds of clothing to donate to the Salvation Army.
This year the fraternity has increased expectations; it aims to raise more money and collect more clothes. As last year was the first year for the clothing drive, Urick said he expects more people to be aware of the drive and prepared to donate.
I was all for it because it ties into the whole Greek system we have. We’re Greek fraternities; chariot races are from ancient times.
Boo Urick, Derby Days chair
“I want to reach as many people as we can with this,” Urick said.
Urick has taken to Twitter to help promote the event under his alternate title: @DerbyDaddy.
While Sigma Chi will hold its traditional Derby Days events, this year will be the first time the event ends with the Red Bull Chariot Race.
“I was all for it because it ties into the whole greek system we have,” Urick said. “We’re greek fraternities; chariot races are from ancient times.”
Red Bull Chariot Race has come to several colleges across the nation. This fall, SU and the University of Tennessee are the only schools currently slated for a Red Bull-sponsored tribute to ancient Greek athletics, according to the Red Bull Chariot Race website.
The chariot race will also be the first Derby Days event that other fraternities can participate in, Slattery said.
Other fraternities were invited to participate in the festivities, he said, because Sigma Chi did not want them to be left out, and additional participants would lead to increased proceeds for the fraternity’s philanthropy.
Said Slattery: “It’s good to show the community that we do do a lot on this campus, and having everybody coming together and being united on it is pretty cool.”
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