A greasy waterslide. A murky mud pit. Mouth-watering food. And, tons of games and other fun. Ask any Bluefield College student what all of these things have in common, and they won’t hesitate to tell you about one of BC’s most beloved traditions — Mud Pig Day.
For the 33rd year in a row, Bluefield College students took time out from classes and books to celebrate the culmination of another academic year, Thursday, April 28, with the time-honored activities of Mud Pig Day.
“It’s a day for us to let loose, relax, and have some fun before final exams,” said senior Lindsey Hazelwood of Stuart, Virginia, who was participating in her fourth Mud Pig Day. “We’re having a blast! It’s been really great! It’s definitely a main attraction for the school.”
The 2011 version of the tradition featured the ever-popular mud pit — a man-made pool of cold water and murky mud — and the Mud Pig Day waterslide — a long plastic tarp on BC’s high hill beside the Dome doused with water and cooking oil.
“I went down the slide for the first time,” said second year BC student Drew Hinton of Salem, Virginia, “and it was really fun. I love the food, too. Everything is a blast. I recommend it to anyone.
Donning commemorative Mud Pig Day t-shirts, the students also enjoyed inflatable games — from volleyball to jousting — along with lunch outside on the campus lawn, featuring the time-honored roasted pig and other barbecue picnic favorites.
Afternoon Mud Pig Day activities included flag football, relay races up the water slide, Slip-n-Slide Kickball, Capture the Flag with water balloons, and Tug-of-War over the mud pit.
“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. “I enjoy being with my friends, 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.”
After dinner, students enjoyed a concert with former American Idol contestant Phil Stacey, followed by a culminating bonfire outside the Dome on the campus lawn.
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.
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 event emerged out of a desire to increase school spirit and was named after a Lady Rams softball player who looked like every game she played was in the mud. Still others recall how the early years of Mud Pig Day included the actual chasing of a small pig, the crowning of a Mud Pig Day King, and the development of a formal day of games, competition, food, music, recreation, and fun under the guidance of Dr. Charles Tyer, president of the college from 1972 to 1988.
“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.”