Longhorns Gather for the 29th-Annual Torchlight Parade & Rally

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Wednesday night Texas fans gathered in front of the Tower for the 29th-annual Torchlight Parade & Rally, hosted by the Texas Exes. An estimated 400 people marched down Guadalupe Street with the Naval ROTC, members of the Longhorn Band, and Texas Pom and Cheer. With torches in hand and fight songs as walking music, the parade began.

By the time the marchers arrived at the Tower, the crowd had grown to more than 500. Once cheer captain and the night’s emcee Zack Jimenez welcomed the crowd and fight songs were sung, head football coach Charlie Strong, in his familiar white mock turtleneck, marched up to the Tower with his senior players.

Texas Pom and Cheer kicked it off with a dance routine, including Hit The Quan, which got the football players and the Hook ’Em mascot hyped. The Texas Cowboys stood off to the right of the Tower with Smokey the Cannon, sending a wave of heart attacks through the crowd every time the cannon was fired.

Sadly, Bevo XIV was not in attendance, as news came yesterday that the 12-year-old steer is ill with an undisclosed, but life-threatening illness. He will not be making the trip up to Dallas for the Red River Showdown. But when a hero has fallen, someone else needs to step up. Zora, a dog the size of a miniature horse, showed up in a Texas shirt, horns, and a sign around her neck reading: “Don’t Worry Bevo, I’ve Got You Covered!” Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Coach Strong took the mic and told the crowd he isn’t happy with the team’s 1-4 record so far. The crowd needed optimism and Strong gave it. “We’re going to go play our butt off,” Strong said. “We will put on a show for you this Saturday. Hook ’em.”

Next up on the mic was running back Johnathan Gray, delivering the message that the team will need everyone’s support this weekend. Lastly, cornerback Duke Thomas led the fans in a “Beat OU” chant, which he mentioned he’d put up on Snapchat. Strong gave a little shout-out to all of his seniors, threw his horns up, and called it a day.

The Naval ROTC then told the crowd that they would be taking the game ball and running—yes, running—it up to Dallas, a light jog of just under 200 miles. Once in Dallas, the ROTC will be playing OU’s ROTC in football, a game UT ROTC promised they’ll win.

The twirler whirled her flaming baton through the night sky, signaling the end of the event. Longhorns fans raised their horns and faced the Tower to sing “The Eyes of Texas” as APO dropped one very large Texas flag from the Tower.

Next stop is the beautiful Cotton Bowl, where if it ain’t fried, it ain’t food.

Photos by Jillian Kushner


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