This year’s Pep Rally Celebration combines several traditions for students only (beginning at 6 p.m.) in advance of a live broadcast of the pep rally (beginning at 8 p.m.)
The Pep Rally will include remarks from key leaders, a presentation of student-created floats, traditional parade balloons and highlights of some of Baylor’s brightest lights – our students. The online and in-person events will conclude with a fireworks show set to music, from the roof of McLane Stadium.
Baylor Students are invited to join this unique production of the long-held traditions in person beginning at 6 p.m. The gathering will follow Baylor’s COVID-19 mask guidelines and social distancing precautions. Student venues for watching Pigskin and the Pep Rally will be located at McLane Stadium, Student Gameday Tailgating and the Touchdown Alley area in fan tailgating. In addition, the annual student event, Dinner with the Livingstones, will be integrated into the celebration with free meals for students from some of Waco’s most popular food trucks located near each venue.
In 1946, freshmen held guard during the five nights preceding the game to prevent the Aggies from painting the campus or kidnapping Chita, the new bear mascot. Bonfires were lit each night in different strategic locations, with the Friday night blaze serving as the climax.
Over time, the barricade program's focus narrowed to protecting the main bonfire pile. And at some point, required kissing became a central security measure. A Lariat article from 1974 describes the custom: "The procedure for guarding the campus is to stop each car as it passes through campus. If a Baylor student or ex-student will not kiss his date, his date must kiss each keeper of the barricade."
The barricade tradition ended in the 1980s (though kissing reportedly continues to be practiced around campus). But while the barricades have disappeared, the Friday night bonfire tradition has grown even stronger. As the campus has expanded over the years, the fire has been frequently relocated, from the heart of campus to the Intramural Fields to the Ferrell Center and a few years ago back to the heart of campus.
Of course, much pomp and circumstance precedes the lighting of the bonfire, including a pep rally, motivational speeches, and even activities planned for the whole family.
For more information, contact Corban Sorrells.