Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

    A Texas-sized performance with Alpha Phi Omega

    Rachel Zein

    On game days at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, there are many moving parts that make the pregame show visually pleasing for the fans. After performances from Texas Cheer and the Longhorn Band, the pregame show always ends with the unveiling of the World’s Largest Texas Flag.

    The group responsible for the running of the flag is Texas Alpha Phi Omega. It has run the flag out at Texas home football games for six decades and has been a part of other campus traditions such as Gone to Texas and the Texas Fight Rally. The group also provides service to the community, such as their annual blood drive, and helps keep West Campus clean.

    Although it may seem simple to do, there is a lot of planning and practice behind the scenes that is put in place by the APO flag coordinators.

    This year, the group is led by flag coordinators Michael Schmidt and Ella Farr.

    “As Flag Coordinators, our three main jobs are communication with athletics, cheer and the band; communication with APO members about when the flag events are going to be; and then the actual planning of and taking care of the flag and flag events,” Farr said. “The week before the game, we coordinate with band for when we’re going to have a flag practice, we announce the practice to APO members and we coordinate with UT athletics and Texas spirit to get the field passes we need for the members who are going to be running the flag that weekend.”

    On game day, members who volunteered to run the flag get to the stadium about two and a half hours before kickoff. They make sure that the flag is taken out of its box and placed on the northeast corner of the field.

    Once the flag is on the field, Schmidt and Farr go over the trick they will perform for that day’s game, and then they go out and execute it during the pregame show.

    They use the traditional flag rollout at most games, but they have re-incorporated tricks such as a steamroll and a cyclone that they have not tried on the field since 2016.

    Unfortunately for the group, a recent drop in participation has hindered the ability to do tricks from years past.

    The group, preferably, needs 40 to 60 participants to make the flag run go smoothly. Recently, they’ve had about 25 to 30 participants on game days.

    “When COVID caused the campus to close, we had a year or two where the numbers were lower than normal,” Schmidt said. “We couldn’t perform the more complex tricks that required more hands on the flag at football games, but fortunately, Ella and I are pleased to be reintroducing some of those at the pregame routine this season.”

    APO has been a part of this tradition for more than 60 years.

    “The Texas flag is a really great part of APO’s History,” Farr said. “It feels like a really great way to give back to the University.”

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