For the 32nd year in a row, hundreds of Bluefield College students took time out from classes and books to participate in the time-honored activities of Mud Pig Day — a day where classes, lectures and research take a back seat to water games, novelty contests, picnics, music, fellowship and other fun.
“It’s just a great day to get away from classes and get outside and get messy and dirty,” said senior Nathan Cronk of Floyd, Virginia.
Most students spent the majority of their day on the ever-popular water slide — a long plastic tarp on BC’s high hill beside the Dome Gymnasium doused with water from the Bluefield, Virginia Volunteer Fire Department and cooking oil from the BC cafeteria — or in the mud pit — a knee-deep, man-made hole in the ground filled with cold water and murky mud.
“I enjoy being with my friends,” Cronk added, “and I really love the slide with water and oil on it, slipping and sliding all the way down. That’s probably my favorite part.”
Donning official Mud Pig Day t-shirts, designed specifically for the annual event, the Bluefield College students also released a little bit of that pre-final exam anxiety bouncing around inflatable novelties, battling one another in laser tag, playing slip-in-slide kickball, and clashing over the mud pit in games of tug of war.
In addition, the students enjoyed lunch and dinner outside on the campus lawn, which featured the time-honored roasted pig and other barbecue picnic favorites. They also took part in a hot dog eating contest, a race up the greasy, wet water slide, and a water balloon contest.
Following dinner, the contemporary Christian rock band House of Heroes provided a live concert in the Dome field, which featured “life-changing music” from the group’s most recent CD release, “The End is Not the End.” The day’s activities concluded with a huge bonfire on the Dome field.
Mud Pig Day began on the campus of Bluefield College in the spring of 1979 when prior to the start of final exams BC students took a day off from classes, away from books, tests and studying to commemorate the end of another semester of achievement.
“I was there for the first Mud Pig Day,” said 1981 alumna Anna Bradberry Jones about the beginning of the tradition in 1979. “It was so much fun, and what a mess it made. I remember all the girls outside the dorm trying to clean up with the water hose and tracking the water and mud all the way to our rooms. Those were such great memories.”
Some say the tradition began with a simple water balloon fight that developed into a full-scale, campus-wide water battle. Others recall how the early years of Mud Pig Day, later formalized by President Charles Tyer, included the actual chasing of a small pig and the crowning of a Mud Pig Day King.
“It was my most favorite day of the whole school year,” said 2008 alumna Marie Chappelear. “It was a nice break from classes and a great time to spend with everybody before we left to go home for the summer.”