It’s a tradition like none other — one that has endured the tests of time for decades and with its embellished memories of origin and antics has become near legendary.
It’s Bluefield College’s Mug Pig Day, and for the 40th year in a row, BC students will take time out from classes and books just prior to the start of final exams to unwind, relax and celebrate the culmination of another academic year, April 26, with the time-honored activities of the custom they call Mud Pig Day.
“It’s just a fun day to come out, hang out, and relax before finals,” said Olivia Ray of Russell County, Virginia, who helps plan Mud Pig Day as a member of the Student Activities Leadership Team (SALT). “One of the things I like to see the most is when faculty and staff come out.”
The Mud Pig Day custom began on the campus of Bluefield College in the spring of 1979 when just before the start of finals 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.”
The 2018 version of the tradition, open to the community, will feature 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.
Other traditional fun likely to be on the activities schedule for 2018: a corn hole tournament and inflatable games, including an extreme obstacle course, a Velcro wall and a mechanical bull. At mid-day, students and guests will enjoy lunch outside on the campus lawn, featuring the typical roasted pig and other barbecue picnic favorites. Commemorative Mud Pig Day t-shirts will be available throughout the entire day, and concluding the festivities will be the customary bon fire in the evening outside of the Dome.
Local residents are invited to stop by and join the Bluefield College family for Mud Pig Day 2018. There will be no charge for the fun, except for meals and t-shirts. For more information, contact the BC Office of Public Relations by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 276-326-4212.