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New opponent, same bonfire for Aggies

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's a Texas A&M tradition - the Texas Aggie bonfire. But this year it's going to be a little different. There is no game against long-time rival, the University of Texas.

The tradition moves forward and the history of it is quite remarkable. Back to 1921, Texas A&M held an official pre-game rally, burning a pile of wood before they would play the University of Texas. Here we are, 91 years later. There's no Aggie-Longhorn rivalry game, but there is still one heck of a bonfire.

Overnight Aggie students finally got a little rest. The stack is now complete; four months in the making and plenty of sleepless nights.

"Right now, I'm just looking forward to burning it," said A&M senior Erik Menn. "It's been four years of hard work."

The work on the massive pile of wood started in August. Houstonian Malcom Webb has been a part of it every step of the way.

"It's been a long journey," he said. "I used to be a crew chief. Now, I'm a safety coordinator. It's been a really exciting semester."

There is one troubling difference about the top of the stack he says. No University of Texas outhouse -- a first in more than 90 years.

"It's more about coming together as students," said Webb. "It's a tradition we like to carry on, whether we play T.U. or not. It doesn't matter."

"All the Aggies come out here building something, being a part of something that's bigger than themselves," said A&M senior Patrick Bailey. "A game isn't gong to change that."

So, a new game, a new enemy. A Missouri Tiger now waits to be burned. And this bonfire will take place on time. The drought and burn bans the past three years delayed the burning by several months.

And as for Saturday's game against Missouri?

"I think Johnny Football (Johnny Manziel) and the rest of the team are going to roll over them," said Webb.

By the way, this is still a renegade bonfire, not sanctioned by Texas A&M. After the 1999 bonfire collapse killed 12 and injured 27 others, the tradition officially ended. Still, it continues for thousands of students.

It cost $20 a vehicle to get in and the burn starts about 8:30pm in Robertson County north of A&M

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