Ring of Fire

Jan 20, 2013 By Pamela Colloff

On November 18, 1999, at 2:42 a.m., the most passionately observed collegiate tradition in Texas—if not the world—came crashing down. Nearly sixty people were on top of the Texas A&M Bonfire when the million-pound structure collapsed, killing twelve, wounding dozens more, and eventually leading to the suspension of the ninety-year-old ritual. Now, ten years later, on what would have been Bonfire’s centennial, the Aggies celebrate the history, relive the tragedy, and wrestle over what happens next.

Eternal Flame

Jan 20, 2013 By Pamela Colloff

What do you do if your university's administrators extinguish your Bonfire? If you're Aggies, you take the show on the road.

The Aggie Bonfire Tragedy

Jan 20, 2013 By Paul Burka

What’s so important about a stack of wood? Every Aggie knows that the answer is tradition—which is why, after a catastrophe that took the lives of twelve young men and women, the decision of whether to continue, change, or call a halt to the bonfire looms so large at Texas A&M.

If Bonfire returns to campus: the Bowen safety plan

Sep 11, 2009 By Paul Burka

Here are some conditions that may — indeed, should — apply to its return. I found this by googling “Ray Bowen bonfire recommendations.” University president Ray Bowen said Friday [I believe the date referred to is September 8, 2001] that when the tradition does resume, in 2002 at…

Perry considering bringing Bonfire back to A&M as early as next year

Sep 8, 2009 By Paul Burka

This report is from Senior Editor Pam Colloff: In the course of working on an oral history of the A&M Bonfire tragedy for our November issue—a story that will mark the tenth anniversary of the Bonfire tragedy, which claimed the lives of twelve Aggies—I had the opportunity to interview Rick…