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The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The saga of the Pale Riders of ’74

Mike Motor (right) discusses life after the streak in 1974 with accomplice Perry Rezinas. (Submitted)

Editor’s Note: The photo captions on this story have been updated. Originally, the subjects were misidentified.

Friends, here in 2024 at the age of 71, I’m a living witness to an unforgettable fad that burst forth on college campuses in the spring of 1974. 

This collective compulsion was called streaking, and I was more than just an idle observer. 

In fact, my Eastern Illinois University roommate and I were bold participants, along with hundreds of others. In the following historical profile, you will learn how we planned, executed, thrived and survived this experience of mayhem and au naturel hilarity. 

Read on and you will learn the naked truth of those who participated. 

And happy 50th anniversary to those of you, wherever you are, who brought the art and science of streaking to Eastern in 1974! 

“Bobbo, in our lives we will never ever have this chance again!” exclaimed 21-year-old Eastern Illinois University student Mike Motor after he’d taken a long pull from his second can of Old Milwaukee beer. 

This was Thursday, March 7, 1974, and Mike was urging his reluctant friend, roommate and fellow Eastern student “Bobbo.”  His real name is Bob Ceder, business major, letterman and prior captain of the Eastern varsity soccer team. I asked him to join me in a streaking run across 

the Eastern campus in Charleston. 

For the uninitiated, streaking is loosely defined as the act of dashing through a public place while unencumbered by clothing for shock value. 

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of this story, some historical context is in order. In offering this narrative some 50 years after that momentous spring evening at Eastern, Bobbo and I are amazed with this passage of time. It seems like that evening was only yesterday. 

And while our memories are blurry on many aspects of our college years, we’re pleased that the undressed details of the Pale Riders saga survive. 

We suspect that the occasional retelling of this tale has kept our streaking memories alive. For sure, the colorful yarn has been shared through the years in hushed tones around campfires at rural Midwestern campsites. 

Likewise, the legend was retold in both corporate board rooms and on the finest central and southeastern Illinois golf courses. 

Finally, famous troubadours have performed songs that sustained the spirit of the unclad dash, such as Willie Nelson’s “On the Streak Again,” The Eagles’ “Life in the Streak Lane,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop the Streakin’,” Elton John’s “Tiny Streaker” and, finally, the national anthem of streaking and the 1974 Country Music Association nominee for song of the year, Ray Stevens’ “The Streak.” 

But I digress. Let’s go back to springtime 1974.

On that temperate early spring evening during their senior year, business major Bobbo and psychology major Mike had ended another day of classes. 

At dusk, the two sat at the wobbly kitchen table in their low rent, off-campus apartment in a white two-story house at the corner of Division and Jackson streets. 

From Mike’s bedroom stereo, Glenn Frey was singing “Already Gone” from the Eagles’ newest album “On the Border.” Their two Border Collies, Omar and Sharif, begged for treats as Mike tried to sell a bold streaking idea to his unenthusiastic roommate. 

Bobbo, also 21, was a good student from northern Illinois. He’d been raised rightly as a proper Lutheran boy. Mike became friends with Bobbo during their freshman year while living in the Stevenson Tower dormitory. 

Mike often stated that Bob was the nicest guy you could ever meet.

Bob Ceder (right) tells details of the streak to friend John K. and the dogs Omar and Sharif. (Submitted)

Mike was a dedicated student, and he’d grown up in a church-going family in a small Illinois town south of Charleston. He had a keen appreciation for clever mischief and nonconformity. 

The kitchen confab continued with Mike steadfast in his resolve while his roommate stood firm in questioning the logic of the plan. Mike became frustrated as Bobbo balked at the streaking opportunity. 

Clearly, Bobbo was uncomfortable with the concept of boogying through campus in the buff. 

Mike attempted to strengthen his position by suggesting that this junket could be memorable, even historical, with the two friends still probably laughing about the experience 50 years later. 

“Like that’ll happen,” Bobbo scoffed. 

As the sun began to set in the western sky over the Whitt’s End bar, they downed another Old Mil to clear their heads as they remained at an impasse. 

However, as the minutes ticked by, Mike sensed that his roommate’s resolve was weakening. He then pounced with a fantastic idea, suggesting that the two could enjoy a high speed streak with anonymity. 

For the first time, Bob seemed interested. “Yes,” said Mike, now gesturing wildly while keeping an eye on the gradual change in Bobbo’s demeanor. 

“We can disguise ourselves, ride undraped on our fast 10 speed bicycles through campus, flash through the South Quad and then immediately split to Right Arm’s place. 

Note that our secret accomplice Right Arm was fellow Eastern student Perry Rezinas– a favorite son of Shelbyville, Illinois. 

“What could go wrong?” Mike emphasized. After the beers, the arguments, an adult discussion, a fresh new idea and a few seconds of silence, the tide turned. 

Bob then smiled and acquiesced. The streak was on!

Now, we must remember that streaking had only recently become a sensation on American college campuses, and this odd “rite of spring” had just began to grip our quiet southeastern Illinois location during that week of March 4, 1974. 

Monday had been a slow starter for campus streaking action, but on Tuesday, March 5, The Daily Eastern News examined this new “in thing” with a page four piece titled, “Streaking: Eastern Fad?” which ended by proposing, “Be chic, streak!” 

Naturally, Eastern students took the dare, and Eastern became a full-fledged streaking campus. Individuals and small groups of bare-naked males shamelessly sprinted across campus, startling and amusing their fellow students. 

They dashed through the University Union building and to dormitories such as Taylor Hall, and then Lawson and Andrews (the women’s dorms). 

The unclad ones hustled into and out of campus bars such as Marty’s. They hit Ike’s, a venerable campus beverage parlor. 

The naked sprinters skirted the juke box and amused a Tau Kappa Epsilon who was hitting on a Delta Zeta at the bar. 

Pinball players and underage drinkers from Neoga were not fazed. In addition, streakers boldly ran through the campus South Quad, a location which became ground zero, the true nexus, for Eastern streaking events. 

On Thursday, March 7, 1974, The Daily Eastern News offered hard-hitting journalism on those Wednesday activities, with eye-catching headlines: “Students ‘horn in’ on streak craze” and “Streakers get away with nudie runs here Tuesday.” 

On Friday, the campus newspaper reported that the Thursday evening streak action was just as vibrant as Wednesday night, with the headline, “200 Streak From Carmen to Old Main.” 

The South Quad remained the primary gathering point, as bonkers as the night before. The paper even included up close and personal interviews with streakers and the local authorities. 

One participant reported that, “Man, streaking is great. You meet some really hip people.” 

Campus security and the Charleston city police reported that they were maintaining a “hands-off policy.” 

With the above as historical context, we return to Mike and Bobbo preparing for their Thursday evening mission. To meet Bobbo’s requirement for identity protection, disguises were procured. 

Mike wore a pair of black plastic Groucho Marx eyeglasses (large eyebrows and plastic nose), while his friend camouflaged his face with various rubbed on substances. 

To meet national streaking guidelines, they wore no clothing except for their shoes (black low-cut Converse All Stars for Mike, Adidas soccer shoes for Bobbo). 

The bikers had received helpful intel on the day’s campus streaking status in a situation report confirming that creative high-speed nudity was active on campus that evening. 

Unbeknownst to Bobbo and Mike, though, hundreds of fully clothed students were already congregating at the South Quad in a festival-like atmosphere, to spend the evening cheering and celebrating the expected cavalcade of naked-as-a-jaybird heroes.

As dusk settled over Eastern, the combo mounted their trusty two wheelers and rode south into the cooling night, soon arriving on campus at O’Brien Field. 

There they met Right Arm, who provided encouragement while collecting their clothes, promising to return the threads after the mission was completed. 

Author’s Note: Right Arm, Bobbo, and Mike were brothers in an unaffiliated, independent and irreverent fraternal organization known as Phi Zappa Krappa.

An old edition of the Daily Eastern News featuring the article “Students ‘horn in’ on streak craze” in 1974 when the steak happened on the Eastern Illinois University campus. (Submitted)

This exclusive association was created in the early 1970s by a group of very cool guys from Elgin who lived in the Stevenson Tower dorm. Mike, Bobbo and Right Arm participated the group’s first pledge class. The fraternity’s historical charter documents are currently missing. 

But I digress. 

Leaving Right Arm behind, the guys hopped on their bikes (carefully) and stood vertical on the pedals, wearing only shoes, smiles and their foolproof disguises. 

Travelling tall and proud, they rolled east on Grant Avenue past Marty’s bar and took a left on Fourth Street, shortly arriving at the north end of campus near Eastern’s stately and historic Old Main. 

With the sound of their tires slowing in the quiet night, they eased to a halt. 

They directed their front wheels southward onto the main campus sidewalk– their futures and legacy immediately before them. 

There, the two experienced distinctly different emotions. Bobbo was quiet and stoic, while Mike, sitting nobly on his handsome candy red Volkscycle 10 speed bike, was clearly channeling the unbridled passion of Mel Gibson’s William Wallace in the movie “Braveheart.” 

They braced themselves for the north/south journey that would take them through the length of the campus riding like the wind, sailing past Booth Library and on to the South Quad. 

In the shadow of Old Main, the pale riders took a deep breath, understanding that this was truly the point of no return. 

Barely audible, Mike uttered something to Bobbo. Maybe it was “Godspeed,” or maybe it was some obscure song lyrics from the Yes “Close to the Edge” album. 

“Game on,” announced Bobbo, and they advanced.

Not long after the cyclers began their trek, the silence of the night was shattered. To the students strolling north on the main sidewalk through campus, the riders coming toward them initially appeared simply as a couple of shirtless guys on bicycles. 

However, as the team reduced the distance and flashed by, the walkers got an unobstructed view of the night riders. 

The once quiet evening exploded with howls, squeals, shrieks and the occasional, “Oh my God, no way!” Other chance meetings produced encouraging cheers and enthusiastic applause. 

Only once did they hear boos. Emboldened, the two pressed on toward Booth Library and the well-lit sidewalk alongside the building. 

Unfortunately, it was at that fateful location that their plan for anonymity took a hit. 

As bad luck and unfortunate timing would have it, just as the disrobed duo cycled through the busy pass way, a Stevenson Tower dorm friend exited the door of the library. 

The friend absorbed a full view of the enthused tandem, and loudly exclaimed for all to hear, “Bobbo, Motor, what the hell?” 

Oops, busted! 

A rumor also had it that one of Bobbo’s business school professors walked out of the library and shockingly observed his student. 

Really busted! 

With no time to waste, the dream team sped on toward their destination. In less than a minute, now with glassy eyes and feverish brains, they rode toward the grassy locale which was a veritable sea of over four hundred loud male and female streak-crazed students. 

As a half hour had passed since the previous streakers exited the campus hoopla, the throng had grown impatient. The revelers were itching for some fresh action in this procession of posteriors. 

Meanwhile, wanting to pump-up the fun meter, some enterprising students had placed some lights near the quad, and the guys were directing them toward streakers entering the playing field, delighting the excited attendees even more. 

As Bobbo and Mike appeared at the Quad, unbeknownst to them, they were the next “act” to be showcased. 

As they biked into the throng, Mike reminded Bobbo of their hastily created plan. Bobbo would take the lead, ride into the grass, turn to the left and complete two laps in a tight circle. 

Mike would closely follow. Then, after acknowledging the crowd’s appreciation, the duo would quickly exit “stage left.” 

The crowd cheered, and the sea of students parted as our champions entered the sacred pitch. The streak fans formed a wide circle around the riders. 

Their first loop was tremendous (like a noisy Mardi Gras parade in the French Quarter but without the beads, gumbo and beignets), and the youthful crowd showered our heroes with applause and adulation. 

Our knights (with no shining armor) graciously acknowledged their fans with warm smiles, waves and thumbs up. However, while magical, the grand moment was short lived. 

During the second loop, Mike heard the disturbing sound of metal crunching on metal and the lead bike broke to a stop. 

Uh oh! Mike quickly realized that Bobbo’s bike chain had jammed and fallen off. 

The B-man was in trouble town, and our parade was in panic city. We were in a pickle! With his brain scrambled and grasping for rational thought, Bobbo dismounted his bike and took a knee, in a futile attempt to put the chain back on. 

The crafty light guys were now having a field day highlighting this circus with Mike continuing to ride a loop around Bobbo and his ailing bike.

Over four decades after the streak, Bob Ceder (left) and Mike Motor (right) have a laugh at Pagliai’s Pizza in Charleston. (Submitted)

While continuing to lap his friend, Mike shouted to knock off the bike repair, so that the two could immediately split the premises, with Bobbo running alongside his bike. 

Bobbo agreed, bravely stood up, and grabbed the handlebar grips to transit his bike. At this specific moment, the spotlight guys earned their money when they accurately focused the light beam on handsome Bob’s full 6 foot plus inches of pale epidermis. 

Let’s take a cleansing breath and allow that sentence to hang there for a few seconds. 

The happy crowd then came unglued– dancing and cheering mightily for my friend, their new campus icon. 

My friend truly was the “Man of the Hour.” As for me, I might as well have been invisible as I rode my final orbit around Bobbo. 

Finally, my friend took the lead for the last leg of our extraordinary journey, running and guiding his bike toward Regency Apartments, now University Court. I rode behind Bob’s behind as we surrendered the Quad. 

We received best wishes and fare-thee-wells from the happy crowd. 

Now on our way to Right Arm’s place, we had a mutual moment of panic hoping that our clothes keeper hadn’t left us in the lurch by heading out to see Timothy P. and Rural Route 3 at Ted’s Warehouse or by going to Sporty’s for some foosball. 

Fortunately, the dude was faithfully waiting for us at the apartment complex with our duds. We thanked him and gave him a thorough report on the mad details of our journey. 

In telling the tale, we laughed long and loud while celebrating the evening’s histrionics with a Goebbels Naturally Light Golden Lager. We toasted our survival; we claimed our success. Victory was ours! 

Both Bobbo and I graduated from Eastern in 1974 and began respective lives that have been amazingly fulfilling with graduate degrees, good careers (respectively business management and public administration), great friends, loving spouses, children and grandchildren. 

In 2024, while residing in different states Bobbo and I maintain regular contact, remaining true and loyal friends. As for Right Arm, I recently confirmed at a Phi Zap reunion that he’s still a very cool friend who, as well, graduated from Eastern and enjoyed a successful career along with a wonderful spouse, children and grandchildren. 


Mike Motor is an Eastern alumni of the class of ’74. 


Anyone can submit writing to the publication at [email protected]. Upon receiving, the publication has the authority to edit or remove content from the submitted work. 

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