The Undying Flame
In 1947, the first definition of Bonfire was formalized. It was said that “Bonfire symbolizes two things; a burning desire to beat the team from the University of Texas, and the undying flame of love that every loyal Aggie carries in his heart for the school.” It bears mentioning that Bonfire existed for decades before a rivalry game with t.u. was instituted. And while we may have moved on from that game, Bonfire continues now as it began, “the undying flame of love that every loyal Aggie carries in his heart for the school.”
Today, as always, Bonfire cultivates leaders and a generations-spanning kinship between students of any origin. Bonfire is about being a part of something bigger than yourself. Every log that goes on Bonfire is Cut, Swamped, Loaded, Unloaded, and Stacked by hand by students. This long and arduous process is the Bonfire-building Aggies gift to Aggieland and to their fellow Aggies. Without the participant asking anything in return, Bonfire rewards the Bonfire-motivated beyond measure.
Before participating, everyone must attend a Cut Class. Here the basics of Bonfire are covered. The current rules and standards are also reviewed. No one is exempt from Cut Class. While at Bonfire, everyone must wear a Pot (protective head-gear), steel-toe leather boots, and long pants in good repair.
Alcohol is strictly prohibited at any Bonfire venue, including Burn. Any participant found to be in any state of intoxication will be permanently banned from participating in or attending any future Bonfire activities.
After Bonfire 1999, significant changes were made to the construction of Bonfire. All logs touch the ground. The familiar wedding-cake design comes from cutting the logs of each tier shorter than the last. Centerpole is now unspliced, standing as a single pole buried to 25% of its total height. Additionally, four poles called “Windle Sticks” are installed around Centerpole to form a framework for Stack.
Friends of the Fire
While the student volunteers had covered much of the costs of Bonfire from 2002 to 2005, this began to change in 2006 with increased support from the Friends of the Fire.
As an organization wholly independent from the University, Student Bonfire must raise the money each year to fund building Bonfire, the Burn Night event, and operations year-round. Consumables include safety equipment, the Site leases, trucks, tractors, fuel, logging chain, cables, wires, ropes, and other rigging. Additionally, the Burn Night event requires many licenses and permits, along with contracted parking, safety, and law enforcement personnel.
To find out how you can help, please read more about donating to Bonfire. Your support not only helps build Bonfire, but also helps Bonfire grow our contribution to the Student Bonfire endowed scholarship at Texas A&M.