8/30/05 David M. Granger, 334/844-9986 (grangdm@auburn.edu)
Deedie Dowdle, 334/844-9999 (ddowdle@auburn.edu)

WRECK TECH PAJAMA PARADE, PEP RALLY SET FOR FRIDAY EVENING

AUBURN – For only the third time in 19 years, Auburn students, alumni and fans will celebrate one of the University’s oldest traditions with the 2005 Wreck Tech Pajama Parade set for 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, the eve of Auburn’s 2005 football opener against Georgia Tech.

This year’s parade is co-sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association and the AU Student Government Association.

“One of the great things about this recent renewal of the Auburn-Georgia Tech football series is the opportunity to bring back the Wreck Tech Pajama Parade,” said Debbie Shaw, AU’s interim vice president for Alumni Affairs. “It has such a rich and colorful origin and history and it’s wonderful that our current students are afforded an opportunity to participate in what most of our alumni remember as one of Auburn’s most beloved traditions.”

AU’s SGA Spirit Director Henley Groves agreed.

“I’ve never met an Auburn graduate who left here unchanged or unmoved and I think a lot of that is because of the traditions that we have here at Auburn,” Groves said. “The Wreck Tech Parade is something many of our parents participated in and remember fondly and it’s great to have an opportunity to share another link to the generations that came before us here at Auburn.”

The 2005 Wreck Tech Pajama Parade will begin at 6 p.m. at the Quad Center. The parade route will follow Mell Street to Thach Avenue to College Street and end with a pep rally at Toomer’s Corner.

Students, alumni and fans are all invited to march in the parade and are encouraged to wear pajama bottoms and “All Auburn, All Orange” t-shirts. Fans may purchase an “All Auburn, All Orange” t-shirt at Auburn area retail outlets. Five percent of the revenue from each shirt sold will benefit Tiger Habitat, through which Auburn University students come together to build Habitat for Humanity homes.

The Wreck Tech Pajama Parade was a staple of the Auburn-Georgia Tech football rivalry that was played annually from 1906 through 1987. The sole interruption of the series was in 1943, when the country’s attention was focused on World War II and Auburn did not field a football team.

The legend that gave birth to the parade has its roots in Auburn’s first ever home football game – against Georgia Tech in 1896. It was a day when football teams traveled by train and the Tech team was scheduled to arrive at the Auburn station, located between North Gay and College streets, early in the morning of Nov. 7.

Several members of Auburn’s corps of cadets, knowing the Yellow Jackets’ travel schedule, arose in the middle of the night and walked to the station in their pajamas. The cadets, armed with grease and lard, applied a thick coating to about a quarter-mile of rails leading into and out of the Auburn station, then returned to their beds.

According to the legend, the next morning the train carrying the Tech football squad could get no traction when it tried to brake for the Auburn station and slid halfway to Loachapoka, some five miles away. The Yellow Jacket contingent was forced to walk back to Auburn, where Auburn whipped them that afternoon, 45-0.

Angered by the incident, Tech officials refused to play Auburn in 1897. They agreed to resume the series only after Auburn officials threatened to expel any students caught trying to repeat the shenanigans of 1896.

In the years that followed, it became tradition for students to gather at the station the night prior to the Tech game – not to grease the tracks, but for a pep rally instead.

For more on the Wreck Tech Pajama Parade, visit the Web site at http://alumni.auburn.edu/events/wreck-tech.html .

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