It’s Bluefield College’s Mug Pig Day, and for the 37th year in a row, BC students took time out from classes and books to unwind and relax as they celebrated the culmination of another academic year, April 30, with the time-honored activities of the custom they call Mud Pig Day.
“This is one of the days of the year that students look forward to most,” said Kelly Bittler, BC’s director of student activities, who organizes the year-end event with the Student Union Board. “It gives them a break, a chance to relax and have fun before finals and to celebrate the end of the academic year.”
The Mud Pig Day tradition 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 year 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.”
The 2015 version of the tradition featured the ever-popular mud pit — a man-made pool of cold water and murky mud just outside the Dome Gymnasium — 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 like the speed of the slide and trying to figure out different ways to go faster,” said Aaron Swingle, a local high school student who joined BC students in the fun. “I’ve been coming to this for a couple of years now. A lot of my friends come here. It’s a lot of fun.”
Donning commemorative Mud Pig Day t-shirts, the students also enjoyed rock wall climbing and inflatable volleyball competitions, along with lunch outside on the campus lawn, featuring the time-honored roasted pig and other barbecue picnic favorites.
“This is always a good day to relax, take a break from classes, and be with friends,” said Rodney Kasey, a senior from Moneta, Virginia. “For me, it’s my last one, so I’m really trying to enjoy this one. It’s a huge tradition. The people who work here enjoy it as much as the students. Even Dr. Olive (president of BC) went down the slide this year.”
As part of the day, students also took park in a mud obstacle course race and a corn-hole tournament. The fun concluded with a lip sync competition and a bonfire in the field near the Dome Gymnasium.
“I think this is wonderful,” said Bluefield College trustee Craig Stout, who celebrated Mud Pig Day with the students. “The students and the faculty are out here just having a wonderful time. It’s celebrating the college and the end of classes. It’s just a time to be together.”