Monday, November 21, 2005

Texas Aggie Bonfire Standing Tall

Okay fans, there's been a lot of Bonfire news building in the past couple days.

First, the location that Bonfire has been held at the past couple years, Hot Rod Hill, is scheduled to close. The courts are shutting them down due to noise voilations. Hot Rod Hill is just outside town and was a great location for the burn. Bonfire may be searching for a new home next year. I can recommend a good field on campus.

Bonfire ran into a funny technical problem this year. The burn ban in the county is in effect due to drought-like conditions in the area. A local lawyer, Kyle A. Davis, helped get Bonfire listed as a "ceremonial burn" and therefore exempt from the burn ban. This ruling came down less than 100 hours before Bonfire was ready to burn. I think Kyle A. Davis works in the office I work in.

The Student Government was all ready to vote on a bill recognizing the off-campus Bonfire as an official student organization but the bill failed to be voted on. The Battalion completely failed to mention some important information in its article the day of the vote. The Student Body President was out of town and therefore the recognition bill could only be voted on as an emergency bill. There were not enough votes to recommend an emergency vote override.

But not that it matters much at this point and time. All the work had already been done on this year's Bonfire by the time the bill would have been passed. Even without the support of the student government and university officials, the norms of Bonfire have slowly been returning. Groups are organized by their dorm names, Corp members are participating against regulations, and some football players will be showing up anyway. There are reports that some professors are starting to help with questions even though that too is against regulations. To be a representative of the university without permission of the unversity, is illegal. By passing this bill and recognizing the off-campus Bonfire, it will eventually open up Bonfire to all campus organizations and leadership.

Yesterday, John Lopez had a really great article on Bonfire in the Houston Chronicle:

That nearly 12,000 fans took buses or car pools to the rural
site, parking in grass and dirt fields, walking up to a mile to attend the
event, indicates that more Aggies view the off-campus event like the
originators. That is, it has become as much a tribute to those who died six
years ago as the memorial on campus.

Yet the university does not recognize anything about the off-campus bonfire. Neither has any administrator condemned the idea.

It's as if the Aggie administration wants to ignore it until it goes away, even though they know it never will. Participation, support and certainly the stack grows every year.

This year's bonfire was the most ambitious structure yet and was something of an engineering marvel, designed by former students who created various templates and computer images from which the student crew worked.

I think he might have pre-written his article and didn't really see Bonfire burn all night. Or maybe he just had to get the article to press and couldn't wait until Bonfire fell. It may be a good thing he didn't wait until Bonfire fell since BONFIRE IS STILL STANDING RIGHT NOW!

From The Batt:

The off-campus bonfire that was lit Saturday is still standing, which could mean Texas A&M will beat the University of Texas (UT) at football on Friday, or that structural changes are needed in the stack itself.

Jack Shallock, a junior forestry science major and grey pot Aggie Student Bonfire leader, said there is a legend saying that if the bonfire stays standing after midnight, then A&M will beat UT.
Picture from The Eagle:

The Aggie Student Bonfire remained standing Sunday after the 45-foot log stack
lit Saturday night at Hot Rod Hill failed to burn completely.

Chance Robinson, a junior at Texas A&M University and a member of Aggie Student
Bonfire, said organizers plan to meet with Brazos County officials to discuss burning the stack at a later date.

Organizers said they plan to meet with Brazos County officials Monday to discuss when - or if - the structure will burn. Most of it remained intact hours after repeated attempts to light it.

Chance Robinson, a Texas A&M University junior and a member of Aggie Student Bonfire, said safety issues are a concern because some of the core logs did burn. It initially caught fire but died out.

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