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Unofficial tradition of ring dunking began on accident

Published: Monday, September 26, 2005

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07

Following ring day, many students can be found staring at their Aggie Ring drowned in 60 ounces of beer. Under the watch of close family and friends, they gulp the beer as quickly as possible, until they can clench their beloved ring between their teeth.

Ring dunking is a well-known but unofficial tradition in Aggieland. Neither the University nor Traditions Council endorses it.

"It was actually a fluke," said Katy Jackson, vice president of Dixie Chicken, Inc. "Two students were hanging out in the Chicken, one of which had just gotten his Aggie ring. His friend was looking at his ring and it inadvertently fell into the student who had just gotten his ring's chugger. At that point they wondered, 'How else do you get it out?'"

The two students told their friends about the feat and more and more students began to dunk their rings at the Dixie Chicken, Jackson said. The date of the original dunking is unknown, but the Dixie Chicken management said they believe it was in the late 1970s.

"Rink dunking started with 32-ounce chuggers, which is about three beers," said Jennifer Ganter, president of Dixie Chicken, Inc. "In the '80s it became popular to dunk Aggie Rings in 60-ounce pitchers, which amounts to five beers. Ring dunking wasn't timed until the '80s either."

In the early 1990s, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission enforced a rule mandating bar patrons could legally only be served 32 ounces of beer at once. Pitchers could only be purchased with two 21-year-old IDs. Students were no longer allowed to dunk their rings in pitchers inside the Dixie Chicken, so they began to present two 21-year-old IDs to purchase the pitcher and then "go to the bricks," or the promenade behind Northgate. When students left for the promenade, the Dixie Chicken was released of liability because the promenade is not their property.

"Dunking rings in pitchers in the Chicken was a nightmare for us," Jackson said. "It stunk after people dunked their rings in pitchers in the Chicken because people would throw up and then we would have to clean it. At one point, we even offered trash bags to ring dunkers."

While students are not allowed to dunk their rings on the promenade anymore, they are allowed to dunk their rings in 32-ounce chuggers inside the Chicken.

"As long as it's being dunked in 32 ounces, we love it," Jackson said. "We're very much about Texas A&M traditions, even the unofficial ones."

Despite many efforts in the past years, ring dunking has yet to become an official tradition and probably never will, said Grant Castleberry, junior yell leader.

"I think it's a cool experience to watch, but it's definitely not something that defines an Aggie," Castleberry said. "Traditions like Silver Taps and Muster are much more important. Being an Aggie is about who you are, not what you choose to do."

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