The first Intercollegiate Elephant Race Meeting in human history—and perhaps the last—ended last week in this plod-away victory by Harvard's 4½-ton entry Sonita, Joe Russin up. The meet, in Fullerton, Calif., originated in a half-serious suggestion by the Dean of Students at the host school, Orange County State College. It developed into a trumpeting reality and a smashing success. "The biggest problem," said one contestant, "was convincing people there really was going to be a race." In the end 16 colleges borrowed pachyderms from farms that raise them for the movies and called for volunteer mahouts to ride them. When the great day came at hastily christened Dumbo Downs—an idle oat field—it took 25 marines to handle the crowd of 10,000. "We were sure the elephants would run," said winning Mahout Russin. "The question was whether they'd stop."
This is an article from the May 21, 1962 issue