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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Behind the build, before the Burn

Photo by: Wesley Holmes

Senior Brown Pot Cameron Palmer stands before the almost-finished stack.

Months of work will go up in flames yet again Tuesday at the annual Student Bonfire Burn Night.


Student Bonfire’s Stack was first burned in 2003 as a continuation of the Bonfire tradition that concluded with the 1999 Aggie Bonfire Collapse.


This year, Senior Red Pot Kenneth Searl said about 250 to 300 students participated in the building of Stack, and he expects over 15,000 people to attend Burn Night.


Burn Night will consist of guest speaker Brian Gamble, the former A&M linebacker who recovered a game-winning fumble in the A&M vs UT game after the Collapse, a yell practice led by Student Bonfire participants and finally the lighting of the Stack by torch. TexAgs will livestream Burn Night for those who cannot attend the event. Searl said the festivities begin around 7 p.m.


Preparation for Burn Night kicked off with First Cut on Sept. 13, during which Aggies meet to begin cutting down trees to be used for the construction of Stack.


“The cut site is usually donated by a friend of the fire … and throughout Cut Season we cut down over 2,000 trees,” Searl said. “And those logs are cut in the woods and taken to a site close to the woods, where they’re loaded onto trucks by hand and then they’re driven to the stack site where they’re unloaded, also by hand.”


Searl said some since the first Stack was burned in 2003, several things have changed about Student Bonfire.


“In 2005, we became a non-profit organization. And since then, recruiting and attendance have gone up a lot,” Searl said. “Some of the things that don’t change that used to change is that the Stack is always the same height — 45 feet.”


Searl said several safety regulations will be in place during Burn Night.


“One of the first and most important safety regulations is that there’s no alcohol permitted whatsoever; we are here to burn this fire and the biggest purpose of burning this fire is to move it out of the way for the next one,” Searl said. “But we also ask that no one ride in the bed of trucks because that’s not safe.”


Searl said Student Bonfire allows students to carry on one of the oldest traditions at Texas A&M.


“It definitely means a lot to me working side by side with your fellow Aggie, for the sole purpose of being there for each other, means alot to all the Aggies who do it and it means a lot to all the Aggies that see the hard work that was put in by the students,” Searl said.

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