Aggie Bonfire was a long-standing annual tradition at Texas A&M University….as part of the college rivalry with the University of Texas at Austin. For 90 years, Texas A&M students, known as Aggies, built and burned a bonfire on campus each autumn….which is known to the Aggie community simply as “Bonfire”….in which this annual autumn event symbolized Aggie students’ “burning desire to beat the hell outta the University of Texas Longhorns”.
The bonfire was traditionally lit around Thanksgiving in conjunction with festivities surrounding the annual college football game between the Aggies and the Horns. Although early bonfires were little more than piles of trash….as time passed, the annual event became more organized….when over the years the bonfire grew to an immense size….while setting the world record in 1969.
In 1999, the Bonfire collapsed during construction and killing twelve people….eleven students and one former student….while injuring twenty-seven others. The accident led Texas A&M to declare a hiatus on an official Bonfire. However, since 2002, a student-sponsored coalition has constructed an annual unsanctioned, off-campus “Student Bonfire” in the spirit of its predecessor….but the tradition ended forever in 2011….when Texas A & M University bolted from the Big 12 Conference…..where they played Big 12 conference member Texas Longhorns every Thanksgiving during conference play….and have not played the Horns since their departure…..thus ending a 100 year rivalry that brought about such tremendous traditions like The Bonfire.