The 500 Festival Princess Program, presented by Reis-Nichols, is one of the 500 Festival’s most time-honored traditions. The upcoming 2018 class of 33 Princesses will represent the program’s 59th year in existence. Just short of 2,000 Princesses have walked step by step with the 500 Festival through the month of May. Of this select group, many have went on to do extraordinary things. The Princess Program is not just a sash, tiara, and a ride through the IPL 500 Festival Parade. The program has a long history of helping with career development and connecting individuals through their 500 Festival experience, opening doors for countless young women in Indiana. The Princess Program alumnae are made up of numerous doctors, lawyers, teachers, and more. Here are just 10 familiar names and faces (and one bonus) who were once 500 Festival Princesses:
1. Katie Hargitt (@katiehargitt)
A lifelong driver, Hargitt grew up with a love of racing. It was only natural that she’d be drawn to the 500 Festival Princess Program. After being a Princess in 2011, she finished her journalism and telecommunications degree at Ball State and snagged her dream job as a pit reporter for the Verizon IndyCar Series with NBCSN. Katie also acts as a member of the public address team at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and she’s been a route reporter for the IPL 500 Festival Parade in recent years.
2. Rachel Bogle (@rachelbogle)
A native of Brown County, a graduate of Indiana University, and a 2009 Princess, Rachel Bogle is now a reporter for CBS 4 in Indianapolis. She also spent six years with Radio NOW 100.9, and previously served as the emcee for the Indiana Pacers.
3. Lindy Thackston (@lindythackston)
Lindy Thackston is a morning anchor for FOX 59 in Indianapolis. She was a reporter for the local affiliate beginning in 2013. When she’s not at FOX, Thackston also serves as a trackside announcer at the Speedway, among other numerous sports and event opportunities. Like Hargitt, Thackston spent many years as a pit reporter for the IndyCar Series and NBCSN.
4. Sandy Murman
An Indiana University graduate, Murman is now the Commissioner of Hillsborough County, Florida, and a former member of the Florida House of Representatives. Murman’s father was heavily involved in the Indianapolis 500 and her older sister was a Princess, as well.
5. Angela BucHman (@angelabuchman)
Angela Buchman continues to maintain close ties to the 500 Festival. She’s currently a meteorologist for WTHR Channel 13 as part of the SkyTrak 13 Weather Team. An Indianapolis native and a Purdue University graduate, Buchman traveled to Sacramento for a number of years before returning to her hometown in 2001. She was involved with the Parade broadcast in 2016, as well.
6. Taylor Schaffer
A Terre Haute native, Schaffer was a 2011 Princess and now serves as the Communications Director for the Mayor’s Office in Indianapolis. She received her degree in Public Relations from Indiana State University.
7. Beth Boles
Beth Boles – formerly Beth Blackburn – is the owner of Blackburn Sports Marketing, but her ties to the Indy 500 go well beyond her career. The wife of IMS president and CEO, Doug Boles, and mother to IndyCar driver Conor Daly, Beth is a 500 Festival Princess who stayed very much ensconced with racing since her Princess days. She is an active member of the community and continues to stay involved with the 500 Festival as the first lady of IMS.
8. Helen Langenbacher Miles
Helen Langenbacher Miles is a successful local artist and the wife of Mark Miles, president and CEO of Hulman & Company. Like Boles, Miles has went from Princess to a lifelong member of the Indy 500 family. She was a Princess in 1974.
9. Julia Moffitt (@juliamoffitt13)
Moffitt is an Emmy award-winning anchor with WTHR Channel 13 in Indianapolis, a native of Lebanon, Ind. and a graduate of Indiana State. One of the station’s most notable faces, she’s been with WTHR since 1999 and has been honored by the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists numerous times for excellence in reporting. Moffitt still stays connected with the Princess Program in various ways. In 2017, she hosted the 500 Festival Princess Reception at the Indiana War Memorial.
10. Catt Sadler (@IAmCattsadler)
A native of Martinsville, Catt Sadler is now the host of E! News in Los Angeles. She studied journalism at Indiana University before getting her start as a reporter in San Francisco. She returned to Indiana in the early 2000s to host the Indiana Lottery’s Hoosier Millionaire. She later emceed for the Indiana Pacers during the 2003-2004 season before returning to the west coast to host The Daily 10, an E! program, from 2006 to 2010. Now, Sadler is the host of the Hollywood News giant and was recently named one of the Top 10 Next Broadcasters of Our Generation by the Los Angeles Times. Sadler also appeared in the movie Hoosiers at age 11.
bonus – james hinchcliffe (@hinchtown)
IndyCar driver and self-proclaimed mayor of Hinchtown, James Hinchcliffe once joined the historic tradition as the first-ever 500 Festival Prince. However, one of the stipulations of the Princess Program is that candidates must be from Indiana. James, of course, is Canadian.
Watch the video to see James’ Quest for the Crown.