‘Outrageous’ events mark Homecoming history

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    Some Homecoming activities never change: the game, the dance, the parade. And some are never repeated again.

    Since the original Founders’ Day celebrations in 1891, students and faculty have worked to find an original spin for each year’s events — a theme to be remembered and activities that will never be forgotten. Following is a list of some of the major events and outrageous activities that have left their mark on BYU’s Homecoming history.

    Oct. 16, 1891: The first Founders’ Day helps the alumni become organized and actively supportive of the school.

    1892: Second Annual Founders’ Day activities include selection of white and blue as the school colors and the presentation of lyrics for the college song.

    1896: BYU’s first football teams begin intramural games. Students heap tables on campus with fruit and vegetables for the Fruit Harvest celebrations.

    1900: The football-related death of a Salt Lake football player spurs BYU administration to ban the game from campus. Intramural games began again in 1919.

    1903: Founders’ Day celebrations include ceremonies officially changing the name of Brigham Young Academy to Brigham Young University.

    1906: The junior class whitewashes their graduating year, 1907, on the mountain east of campus. Seniors attempt to change the lettering to “1906”; the resulting mess induces administrators to purchase 280 acres of mountainside land and contract for the official painting of a “Y” on the property. Restoring the whitewash becomes an annual Homecoming activity, requiring 500 pounds of salt, 110 bags of lime, 3,000 gallons of water and the service of hundreds of students on a “bucket brigade.”

    1922: Football becomes an official part of BYU’s athletic curriculum. Cougars open their first season with six games and a 1-5-0 record.

    1930: The first official Homecoming Day is celebrated, the general alumni’s first organized reunion.

    1947: Colleen Hutchings is crowned BYU’s first Homecoming Queen.

    1953: BYU pep chair Dwayne Stevenson develops “Cosmo the Cougar” as the school’s costumed mascot, announcing, “Cosmo, the space-age cougar, zoomed down from outer space onto the BYU campus to become the newest member of the Y yell team.”

    1955: BYU students build a 50-foot bonfire with a 255-foot base in the north parking lots in response to a fire-building challenge from University of Utah students. After a week of junk-collecting, BYU’s pile is much larger than Utah’s and includes a teepee made of stolen telephone poles with a sign reading “There’s a Ute Inside.” In underhanded efforts to win the contest, BYU students ignite Utah’s pile, and Utah ignites BYU’s before the official lighting date.

    1965: Homecoming dances are especially tame after the ASBYU Executive Council’s early October move to ban “fad dances” from campus, eliminating the swim, the jerk and other popular dancing styles. Popular dancing was back on campus by 1967.

    1968: BYU coeds celebrate Homecoming by making the world’s largest cake, a 13-ton construction that required 4,800 boxes of yellow cake mix and 5,040 eggs.

    Homecoming festivities in the quad also include tiger wrestling with a live tiger, ostrich-pulled chariot races, and bucking donkey rides. The animals were on loan from a carnival company.

    1972: Students participate in chariot races on the McKay Quad sidewalk. Each chariot has one charioteer with one pusher and a team of six pullers.

    1982: Quarterback Steve Young assists ASBYU in unveiling a new tradition: “Bringing out the Y.” The 8-foot wooden Y, built by the Sigma Epsilon Club, is expected to be present at all football and basketball games and pep rallies.

    1988: BYU Homecoming Queen tradition ends after 40 years. Administrators say there is no real role for a queen and that the pageants don’t affect enough students to justify the time and money spent on them.

    1991: In keeping with the “Lighting the Y” Homecoming week theme, 200 students hike to the Y and hold fluorescent green glow sticks to light the Y without the traditional use of an electrical generator. Nobody in the valley can see the glow; members of the Intercollegiate Knights, who have defended the Y from Homecoming week vandalism and monitored the generator that keeps it alight since 1982, say they are “very angry” about the unimpressive display.

    1993: Students strap wheels and ropes to their beds for “bed races” on the W. W. Clyde Building lawn.

    Also, one student is seriously injured in a Homecoming mountain bike race at the bottom of Y trail.

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