Backroads Indiana – Sports Illustrated

Editor’s note: Mike Barrett recently came across a couple of past Sports Illustrated issues.

Mount changes history

In 1966, Rick Mount became the first high school athlete ever to be featured on the cover of the nationally acclaimed Sports Illustrated magazine.Mount, of course, is an Indiana high school basketball legend from Lebanon and later at Purdue University.

While his high school and college careers are well documented, this story is about one glorious basketball night on the midway of the Fourth of July carnival in Lebanon, where the history of the teddy bear was changed forever … and here’s the story.

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Rick Mount is the reason guys like Steve Alford and myself could only win two teddy bears for our dates at the county fair. OK, maybe that’s stretching it a bit by putting my name in there, but it’s true for a lot of people.

Of all of the great basketball stories about Mount, one of the favorites among Lebanon citizens is one that never happened on a basketball court. Instead, it happened at the Fourth of the July carnival when Mount started shooting free throws of two shots for $1. Hitting both resulted in a teddy bear.

At this time, there was no limit on how many you could win, so Mount just kept on shooting. A crowd started to gather, and before long, fathers began paying for him to shoot and win teddy bears for their daughters.

Legend has it that Mount won 28 teddy bears in about 45 minutes, much to the dismay of the carnival operator.

The next year, when the carnival returned, there were signs posted: “Shooters: There is a Two Bear Win Maximum Per Shooter.” Thus, the history of the teddy bear and carnivals changed forever, as before long, carnivals and county fairs all across America implemented the same rule.

There’s one more good piece to this story. Years later, Mount was running one of his famous shooting camps when a lady approached him and told him her daughter was enrolled in his camp for the day. Then she told Mount she was one of the young girls he won a teddy bear for that day back in the 1960s.

Rick Mount — first high school athlete on the cover of Sports Illustrated and the man who changed the course of county fairs and teddy bears. Now that’s some good barbershop talk.

Hoosiers upset Wildcats

Indiana opened the 1993-94 college basketball season on the road at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, where they were upset by Butler.Things didn’t look good for the Hoosiers, as their next game was against the No. 1-ranked Kentucky Wildcats.

But on a cold Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis, the Hoosiers, behind Damon Bailey, outhustled and outgunned the Wildcats for a 96-84 win. Bailey was fantastic with 29 points, six rebounds and five assists, which landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

The win was the first ever by an IU team against a No. 1-ranked Kentucky team and remains my favorite IU win against UK.