The glow of red candles illuminated the steps of the UT Tower 71 years after UT’s first hex on Texas A&M, proving that Longhorn tradition remains even if the original opponent does not.
The Texas Exes Spirit and Traditions Council hosted its annual Hex Rally on Monday at the Main Mall, placing a curse on the TCU football team in time for the Thanksgiving game. Although the Longhorns have hexed A&M for the past 26 years, the Aggies’ departure from the Big 12 Conference provided UT with the opportunity to hex the Horned Frogs.
According to the Texas Exes, the Longhorn football team ended an 18-year losing streak against A&M at Kyle Field in 1948 after a local fortune teller, Madam Agusta Hipple, suggested burning red candles a week before the game. Since then UT has used the hex against rivals other than A&M, including SMU in 1950, Baylor in 1953 and TCU in 1955.
Kelsey Roberts, the Texas Exes’ student relations coordinator, said the organization considered replacing the hex rally as a result of A&M’s departure, but ultimately decided to keep the rally because it is a valuable piece of UT history and tradition.
“If we got rid of the rally, it would be proving that this entire time it was all about A&M,” Roberts said. “We instead decided to keep up with this tradition by making it more about us.”
Advertising senior Erica Flores, Texas Exes Spirit and Traditions Council chair, said the council worked to make the rally more UT-focused by introducing new acts to the rally, including a skit by mascot Hook ‘Em and a speech by Harley Clark, creator of the “Hook ‘Em Horns” hand sign.
“Students need to embody UT traditions as UT traditions,” Flores said. “We need to take the ownership back, and this year provides a great opportunity for that.”
Flores said the organization successfully maintained student body spirit for the tradition. The Student Chapter sold more than 400 Hex Rally shirts Monday in addition to 400 shirts it sold Nov. 14, Flores said. She said this support reflects UT’s independence gained from A&M’s departure from the Big 12 Conference.
“Of course there may be mixed opinions about the rally, but there is a sense of such excitement because not all campuses do these types of things,” Flores said.
Despite the changes made to the rally, one aspect remained the same. Coach Mack Brown initiated the hex by lighting the first candle. Brown emphasized UT’s 15-home game winning streak against TCU.
Junior offensive guard Mason Walters said UT’s opponent is not what is important. Walters said what matters is the time-honored tradition of Longhorn football on Thanksgiving Day.
“The thing about this game is it is about Texas,” Walters said. “It is not about the other team.”
Printed on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 as: New team, same tradition