Brownsville Chapter’s Waiter Challenge Is Biggest, Best Ever

In 1999, Texas Exes Brownsville Chapter board member Letty Fernandez and a few UT and A&M alums were reminiscing about their college days. “We all loved talking about traditions and school spirit,” Fernandez recalls. “And we joked about the school rivalry. I had just done a waiter challenge for a nonprofit, and I wondered if we could start a new tradition.”

More than a decade later, Fernandez’s idea has grown into a tradition that far exceeded anyone’s expectations. The 13th-annual—and possibly final—Longhorns vs. Aggies Waiter Challenge raised more than $26,000 to support scholarships at both schools.

The challenge turns the longstanding A&M/UT competition into camaraderie. Alumni, friends, and businesses pay to buy seats at tables, and each table is waited on by an alumnus. There are 10 waiters for UT and 10 for A&M. Guests compete by tipping their waiters, and plenty of silliness ensues. Waiters have been tipped both for singing and for agreeing to stop singing.

So which school won? This year, the Aggies tipped their waiters more than the Longhorns did. But the two teams split the money down the middle for their respective schools.

“You can’t really figure out who ‘wins,'” Fernandez says, “because we also raise money through auctions, through ticket purchases, and other donations. Besides, the real winners are the kids who get scholarships.”

With A&M soon to leave the conference, Fernandez and the other organizers aren’t sure if the rivalry will stay alive. But even if it doesn’t, they’ve had a good run.

“The energy was high, and we definitely raised more money than ever before,” says Brownsville chapter treasurer David Vela. “If this was our going-out party, we went out with a bang.”

Photo by Letty Fernandez


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