Longhorn takes spot Aggies use for yell practice
AUSTIN -- A University of Texas student has reserved the state Capitol's south steps for the date that Texas A&M University fans traditionally meet for midnight yell practice before the rivals' biennial game in Austin.
The move by Christian Deitering, 24, forced Austin-area Aggies to alter their plans by scheduling to meet the night of Nov. 23 on the Capitol's north steps, which don't require a reservation.
Deitering said he was annoyed two years ago when he saw the Aggies practicing their football cheers the night before the game while Texas fans were kept away.
"From what I could tell, A&M had security to make sure we didn't get up there ... but I consider Austin my town," said Deitering, who is also head of the Longhorn Hellraisers, a spirit group.
Deitering said he hopes to hold a rally for Longhorn fans on the south steps. He reserved the location months ago with a call to the State Preservation Board. He said he took action on his own and not on behalf of the Hellraisers.
Stephen Mason, president-elect of the Capital City A&M club, downplayed the conflict. He said Aggies have held yell practice on the north steps within the past 10 years.
"This is no big deal," Mason said.
He said he's not bothered by the idea of rival rallies at the Capitol.
"The Capitol grounds are such a big space that I don't think we will notice they have people there," he said.
Deitering said he was trying to do something positive for Austin and didn't realize he was tampering with an Aggie tradition.
"I didn't realize how big of a deal it was until I got call a from Texas Exes, who explained to me, 'Do you know what you've gotten into?"' he said.
Alison Crocker, student relations coordinator for the Texas Exes, said the UT alumni group wouldn't support Deitering's efforts.
"I told him the spirit and the purpose of the alumni association is to not interfere with other people's traditions and I could not support him in his efforts," Crocker said.
Crocker said talks with A&M yell leaders about a joint event between the two schools haven't come to fruition.