TBT: 1944 Longhorns prepared for Thanksgiving victory against Texas A&M

Stephen Acevedo

Today, UT students have much to be thankful for, including Kerbey Queso, music festivals and Matthew McConaughey. But on Thanksgiving Day in 1944,the  Longhorns were thankful for one thing — their win against Texas A&M’s football team.  

Before A&M moved to the SEC in 2012, it was a longtime Thanksgiving tradition for the Longhorns to face off with them on the football field. In a 1944 Daily Texan article, an anonymous writer recounted the football game’s importance to the Longhorns’ chances for a successful Thanksgiving.

“A parade, a pep rally, a bonfire, and a Thanksgiving Eve dance are on the menu tonight for all loyal ‘teasippers’ before their traditionally great Turkey Day football game, the Texas A&M Tilt,” the writer said.

A&M dubbed UT students “teasippers” in a failed attempt to take a jab at their social status and intellects. Daily Texan writers showed no sense of shame over the pseudonym, freely using it to describe Longhorns in their articles.

The article described the young Longhorns’ participation in spirit events to support their team in its quest for a Thanksgiving victory. In addition to parades and pep rallies, students also took part in a series of on-campus school spirit contests in the days leading up to the game.

“Tonight, also, will mark the completion of several campus contests which have created interest recently, namely the Texas A&M sign contest sponsored by the Silver Spurs, the wood-gathering contest sponsored by the Cowboys, and the fight song contest sponsored by the music committee of the Texas Union,” the writer said.

At the time, it was tradition for students to hold a bonfire on campus the night before the Thanksgiving game. The wood-gathering contest gave students a fun incentive to help build an impressive bonfire. Following the contest, there was a parade that ended in a rally at Gregory Gym. After Coach Dana X. Bible introduced the Longhorn football team, the rally relocated to a more flame-friendly spot.

“The rally will move in a body to the Cavanaugh tract, south of the men’s dormitories for the traditional pre-A&M game bonfire,” the writer said. “The yell leaders, in a short yell session by the light of the fire, will lead teasippers in such famous Texas yells as the ‘Whisper Yell,’ the ‘Color Yell,’ and the ‘Longhorn Yell.’”

The UT community’s school spirit events aimed at encouraging victory against the Aggies did not completely exclude the A&M community. A&M students and organizations were encouraged to take part in the various Thanksgiving festivities on UT’s campus.

“The Informal Turkey Trot, sponsored by the Texas Union, will begin at 8:30 o’clock in Gregory Gym with the Aggieland Orchestra furnishing the music,” the writer said.

The dance also included an appearance from the Aggie yell leaders who came together with the Texas cheerleaders to bring the evening to a spirited finale.

“During the intermission, Texas cheer leaders and Aggie yell leaders will lead the ‘Teasippers’ and the ‘Sharecroppers’ in their traditional yells,” the writer said. “Each will try to out-yell the other at this short rally and will warm up for the extensive yelling which will characterize the Battle of Memorial Stadium on Thanksgiving Day.”