The Texas Exes celebrated 182 years since Texas declared independence from Mexico with a visit from Bevo XV, the Texas Cowboys, Smokey the Cannon and more at The Brass Tap on Saturday.
The Texas Independence Day Celebration was established in 1900 by UT students and alumni and is now recognized as a time the University and the state are celebrated. The money raised from ticket purchases and the silent auction also contributes to various scholarships the organization provides to current and incoming students.
Beth Copeland, UT cheerleader and business freshman, said people came to the celebration for the social aspect.
“It’s fun to see everyone interacting,” Copeland said. “People love to be around other people who love Texas.”
Although the celebration featured attractions from a taco bar to the chance to take pictures with Bevo XV, several people said they appreciated the atmosphere of Longhorn pride and the opportunity to connect with other Longhorns.
Jean Durkee, Texas Exes member and 1953 alumna, said she enjoyed coming to the event because of how friendly the UT community is. “We’ve had all of these young people that want to talk to us and know about when we went to school,” Durkee said. “Everyone starts a conversation.”
While not a UT alumnus, Matt Deaton, who performs live music at the event every year, said he enjoyed being surrounded by Longhorns in an event for all ages.
“It’s always fun to make Aggie jokes with like-minded people,” Deaton said.
Deaton said one of the best parts about the celebration is that participants get to be a part of funding the scholarships the association awards to students. The Texas Exes
awarded more than $3 million in scholarships in 2017, according to their website. “Being able to fund scholarships for UT students is the best,” Deaton said. “The coolest part is seeing two of the students who received the scholarships here.”
UT alumnus Mike Ajuobi said he appreciated having the opportunity to be with other UT enthusiasts at the Texas Independence Day Celebration. Ajuobi said he also values the camaraderie UT has to offer.
“I’m here to be around great people and special students,” Ajuobi said. “After my whole four years at UT, I realized what starts on campus really does change the world.”