Many Rice traditions are either suited or unsuited for the camera, depending on your personal taste. From school-sanctioned alcohol consumption at Beer Bike to the innocent (and not so innocent) displays of skin at Baker 13 and Night of Decadence, Thresher photographers have been there to snap the shutter, and editors have been more than willing to ink the results.
Thresher coverage of Baker 13 began in 1975 with a small article about “Club 13.” The first published photo of the naked run, however, came in 1985 as part of the Thresher’s Beer Bike coverage that year. In the photo, five “Club 13” runners excitedly streak across a field as “halftime entertainment.” The Thresher most likely was unable to take photos of the run initially, as it took place outside at night, and the photography team would not have had the necessary equipment to document the run at that time.
Today, the Thresher consistently publishes photos of Baker 13 runs. Because of improved cameras and equipment, the Thresher can now capture photos of the night runs in high quality; the naked students are still covered in shaving cream, but their expressions are now less grainy. To the right, a 2012 Thresher photo shows a crowd of runners wearing variable amounts of shaving cream during a Halloween run.
Although Wiess College’s Night of Decadence party began in 1972, it wasn’t until much later that the Thresher’s coverage of NOD expanded to include photography. In 1983, the theme was “Co-Eds in Chains” to celebrate (or maybe lament) Wiess becoming coed, and the Thresher snapped the photo to the left of a male undergraduate in bondage.
As the times changed, the Thresher and other media outlets were barred from taking photos of the growing number of partygoers within the walls of Wiess College. Relegated to the outskirts of the college, the Thresher’s photographic coverage of NOD became as skimpy as NOD attendees’ outfits. To this day, Thresher photographers capture the event from the fringes of the party, as seen in the photo to the left from the 2010 NOD party, “Viva NOD Vegas: Go All In.”
Beer Bike began in 1957 as a “rigorous” bike and chug race between the male residential colleges during the Rondelet pageant. The Thresher wrote about the competition from the beginning, but the first photo of Beer Bike did not appear in print until 1963. The low-quality photo features bikers from Hanszen College, Will Rice College and Wiess College and shows the race’s spirit of competition.
The Thresher also documented Beer Bike’s now-defunct traditions, such as the masters’ and associates’ participation on their respective college’s chug teams. In 1968, the Thresher published a photo to the right of then-Hanszen master Ronald Sass chugging during the race. The caption clarified that he was drinking an “unspecified liquid.”
Now, Beer Bike has expanded to incorporate the growing residential college system as well as women’s and alumni races. The Thresher consistently runs large spreads covering the event every year. Improved camera equipment and photography skills have allowed the Thresher to capture the detailed expressions of the bike and chug teams along with the pit crews and spectators. To the right, a 1996 Thresher photo shows the Jones pit crew escorting a tired rider off the track mid-race.