Celebrities

2017 Celebrity and VIP Lineup
  • Eva Kor

    Serving as the Grand Marshal of the 2017 IPL 500 Festival Parade, Eva Mozes Kor is a survivor of the Holocaust and forgiveness advocate. At the age of 10 she entered Auschwitz where she was separated from most of her family. She and her twin sister were subjected to unthinkable medical experiments and fought daily for their own survival until the camp was eventually liberated. Kor’s experiences in Auschwitz, coupled with her never-give-up attitude, led her to a life of advocacy work, teaching remembrance, understanding, and hope. She is a resident of Terre Haute, Ind. where she co-founded the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center.

  • Madison Kocian

    American gymnast Madison Kocian is a member of the gold-winning 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, nicknamed "The Final Five." Kocian helped the U.S. women win team gold at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the USA’s second-straight Olympic gymnastics team title. She also won the uneven bars silver medal, the first U.S. Olympic uneven bars medal since 2008. In 2015, Kocian made gymnastics history when she was part of a four-way tie for the 2015 World uneven bars gold medal. She also helped the USA to its third-consecutive World team title with her performances at the 2015 World Championships. In 2014, Kocian made her World Championships debut in Nanning, China, where the USA also won the team title.

  • Nathan Kress

    Born in Glendale, California, Nathan began acting at the age of three and quickly landed a feature film role as the voice of Easy the Chimp in "Babe: Pig in the City." By fifth grade, he had landed a recurring role as a sketch performer on "The Jimmy Kimmel Show" playing various characters; one of his favorite being a young Simon Cowell of "American Idol." Known around the world for his lead role on Nickelodeon's hit show "iCarly", Nathan played Freddie Benson, Carly's smitten next-door neighbor and technical producer of her web show. He has since been involved in feature films like Into the Storm (2014).

  • Pierson Fode

    Fode is an Emmy-nominated actor currently starring on the world's most popular daytime series, CBS' "The Bold and the Beautiful." He plays the role as Thomas Forrester, a fashion designer and heir to the family fortune. His most notable role is his character Ely in the 2015 film "Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List," where he starred opposite Victoria Justice. He can also be seen in a few indie movies and the HBO series "Hello Ladies," as well as Disney's "Jessie." Fode is a native of Moses Lake, Washington and has also appeared as a model in Seattle until 2011. 

  • Johnny Rutherford

    Rutherford is one of just nine drivers to have won the Indianapolis 500 three or more times, making trips to the winner’s circle in 1974, ’76, and ’80. Fittingly named “Lone Star JR” due to his Texas roots, the three-time winner retired from racing in 1994 and went on to serve as an IndyCar pace car driver for many years. In early May it was announced that Rutherford, who won two Indy 500’s with McLaren, will serve as the McLaren-Honda-Andretti team ambassador throughout the Month of May. McLaren will be racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time in 38 years as they’ve partnered with Honda and Andretti to field a car in the Indy 500, with Fernando Alonso as the driver.

  • Ric Flair

    Flair is a celebrity and professional wrestler. Also known as the “Nature Boy,” Flair is among the most famous and well-known wrestlers in the world, and has been one of wrestling’s biggest stars since the late 1970s. He was often popular with the crowd due to his in-ring antics, including rule breaking, cocky interview style, strutting and shouting of “WOOOOO!” The yell has since become a tribute to Flair, and is often shouted by the crowd whenever they see Ric or when another wrestler performs one of Flair’s signature moves. 

  • Jeff Teague

    Jeff Teague is an Indianapolis native and a graduate of Pike High School. He played collegiate basketball at the University of Kentucky for one season and helped the Wildcats win their eighth National Championship before being drafted 19th overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2009 NBA Draft. After playing six seasons with Atlanta, Teague was acquired by the Indiana Pacers and returned to his hometown in 2016. In Teague's first season with Indiana, he averaged 15.7 points and 5.9 assists per game. Teague will accompany long-time IndyCar driver Buddy Lazier in the Parade.

  • Glenn Robinson III

    A Gary, Ind. native, Glenn Robinson III was the 40th overall draft pick by the Indiana Pacers in the 2nd round of the 2014 NBA Draft. He played his college basketball at the University of Michigan and is the son of Purdue standout Glenn Robinson II, the former No. 1 overall selection in the 1994 NBA Draft. Since joining the Pacers, Robinson III has seen his role, including both minutes on the court and favor among Indianapolis fans, drastically increase. He finished the 2016-2017 season averaging 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan

     

    Morgan is one of the stars of the hit TV show, “The Walking Dead.” His character, Negan, is a 2015 addition to AMC’s long-running drama. The star rose to fame through his role on “Grey’s Anatomy” before numerous appearances in films, including the popular movie “Watchman,” and the award-winning comedy, “Weeds.” Morgan was also a 2015 addition to the CBS’ “The Good Wife,” where he plays Alex and stars opposite Julianna Margulies. His wife, actress Hilarie Burton, will ride with him in the Parade. 

     

  • Hilarie Burton

    Hilarie was born in Sterling Park, Virginia and is the wife of fellow actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who will drive the pace car for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. Burton began acting at an early age. A guest spot on MTV led to an appearance on a 1998 episode of Dawson's Creek before breaking into stardom as Peyton on One Tree Hill.

  • Sharna Burgess

    Sharna Burgess got involved in jazz, ballet, and gymnastics at age five. At age eight, she fell in love with ballroom and the rest is history. A native of New South Wales, Burgess won numerous local and national dancing titles in Australia. She is most recently a star on the hit TV show, "Dancing with the Stars," and was last year's partner with IndyCar driver, James Hinchcliffe. Burgess has danced opposite numerous stars on the show, including Andy Dick, Keyshawn Johnson, and Olympian Charlie White.

  • Mina and Karen (Good Bones)

    The dynamic mother-daughter duo who started their Indianapolis-based home renovation company, Two Chicks and a Hammer. They have since taken over the HGTV world. The season two premiere of their hit show "Good Bones" is set to air May 30. Karen E Laine was a former lawyer who gave up her career to chase a new dream with her daughter, Mina Starsiak. The two renovated Mina's first home near downtown Indianapolis and were instantly hooked. They created "Two Chicks and a Hammer, Inc." and their mission is to revitalize Indianapolis, one property at a time.

  • Matt Painter

    The 13-year head coach of Purdue men’s basketball, Painter is a Muncie, Ind. native and a Purdue alum (’94). He rejoined the Boilermakers in 2004 and was tabbed as Gene Keady’s successor, taking over for the winningest coach in the school’s history in 2005. In his tenure, Painter has accrued three Sweet 16 appearances, nine NCAA Tournament berths, two Big Ten regular-season titles, and one Big Ten tournament title. Most recently, the Boilers won the 2016-2017 regular-season title on their way to a Sweet 16 with a 27-8 overall record and a 14-4 record in conference play.

  • Mike Bobinski

    Bobinski is the ninth and current Director of Athletics at Purdue University. He recently completed his first academic year with the university since he joined in August of 2016. During his first year atop Boiler athletics, both men’s basketball and women’s track and field won Big Ten championships while women’s basketball and volleyball garnered NCAA Tournament berths, as well. Bobinski boasts 30 years in athletics administration with stints at Xavier, Akron, and Georgia Tech prior to joining Purdue. 

  • Tom Allen

    Allen was named Indiana University’s 29th head football coach on Dec. 1, 2016 and coached the Hoosiers in the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl. A New Castle, Ind. native, Allen began his IU tenure as an associate head coach of the defense during the 2016 season. He created one of the most-improved defenses in the country against a schedule that included four top 10 opponents. The Hoosiers’ newest coach began his coaching career in Florida before returning to Central Indiana as the defensive coordinator of Marian High School in 1997. He moved to Ben Davis as the defensive coordinator from 1998 to 2003 before taking over as the head coach of the Ben Davis program until 2006. He left the state for various collegiate opportunities for the last decade before returning to Bloomington prior to last season.   

  • General Robert B. Abrams

    General Abrams is a four-star general currently serving as the 22nd Commanding General of the U.S. Army Forces Command. General Abrams has served our country since May of 1982 upon graduation of the U.S. Military Academy. In his 35 years, General Abrams has commanded at every level from Company through Division, including Commanding General of the 3rd Infantry Division, and has led units in combat operations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Major General Courtney P. Carr

    Major General Carr is the Adjutant General of Indiana. He was appointed on June 1, 2015, and primarily serves in leadership of the Indiana Army and Air National Guard, the Indiana Guard Reserve, and state employees all totaling over 15,800 personnel to meet state and federal missions. General Carr also began his career upon graduation of the U.S. Military Academy in May of 1983, one year after Abrams.

  • Major General Andrew P. Poppas

    Major General Poppas assumed duties as the Commander, 101st Airborne Division on January 19, 2017. A native of Janesville, Wisconsin, MG Poppas graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1988 before receiving his Master’s from Kansas State and graduating from the Defense Language Institute of the Hellenic War College in Greece. He was also a 2011 National Security Fellow at Harvard University. Poppas’ command assignments are plenty, including Deputy Commanding General for Operations, 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault from July 2012 to July 2014, including duty in Afghanistan from February 2013 to February 2014. His awards include two Bronze Star medals, the Defense Superior Service medal, and a Purple Heart, to name a few.

  • Lyn St. James

    Lyn St. James is known for being the first female driver to win the Rookie of the Year award in the Indianapolis 500 (1992). She competed in the IndyCar series, with 11 CART and five Indy Racing League starts. Now, St. James’ focus is motivational speaking revolving around doing the impossible, referencing her breaking into a sport previously dominated by men. She has been a coach and mentor to nearly 300 women drivers across the globe, including Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher. 

  • Governor Eric Holcomb

    Governor Holcomb has served as the 51st Governor of Indiana since January of 2017. Prior to his election, he was the Lieutenant Governor under former Governor and now Vice President, Mike Pence. Holcomb is a born-and-raised Hoosier. A graduate of Pike High School and Hanover College, he spent his entire childhood in Indiana before serving in the Navy for six years and working in Washington D.C. for another six. He later returned to Indiana to serve as an advisor to Governor Mitch Daniels in 2003. Holcomb was sworn into office on January 9 of this year.

  • Mayor Joe Hogsett

    A Rushville, Ind. native and Indiana University graduate, Hogsett is also a born-and-raised Hoosier. After graduating from Indiana, Hogsett received graduate degrees from Butler University and the Christian Theological Seminary, later earning his law degree from Indiana, as well. In 1989, Hogsett was appointed to the position of Secretary of State in Indiana, vacated by Evan Bayh, where he would remain until 1994. He later served as the chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party and was later nominated by President Barack Obama to be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana before being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He resigned in 2014 to run for Mayor of Indianapolis. He won in November of 2015.