Red Rally bonfire
Pistol Pete, the New Mexico State mascot, burns at the stake at UNM's Red Rally Thursday night.
Credit: Addison Flores-Thorpe

Students gathered on Johnson Field Thursday to participate in the annual Red Rally bonfire to support the UNM football team. The event, hosted by ASUNM, is designed to get students engaged and active in the community as well as promote school spirit.

ASUNM along with other volunteers including members of the Sigma Chi fraternity built a 25-foot-tall NMSU Aggie to burn at the stake.           

“We are one of the three ASUNM agencies that rely completely on volunteers,” said Elena Vigil, volunteer coordinator for ASUNM’s Lobo Spirit, “Our volunteers are there from start to finish from cutting chicken wire and building the structure, to carrying the Aggie to Johnson field at 7 a.m. the day of and finally helping put out the fire at 9 p.m. that night. Red Rally, not any of Lobo Spirit’s events, would be possible without our incredible volunteers.”           

UNM President Robert Frank and his wife, Janet, joined ASUNM President Jenna Hagengruber in welcoming students to the event. Frank stressed the importance of unity and how students should feel proud to be part of the Lobo community. Additionally, seniors from the Lobo football team got the crowd fired up for the upcoming game on Saturday against New Mexico State University.       

Samantha Barrett, a freshman at UNM said, “I thought this was fantastic! I thoroughly enjoyed it and I especially loved watching the Aggie burn. I felt so much school spirit and pride and I really felt like a Lobo.”           

Before the bonfire started, the event kicked off with a contest to see which student had the most school spirit. The winner of the contest, a freshman named Tommy Galfano, received the most cheers from the crowd for his interesting outfit choice and positive attitude.

Red Rally is rated No. 55 on Sports Illustrated’s “102 Things You Have To Do Before You Graduate.” The event, which included the cheer team, football team, spirit squads, and Spirit Marching Band held more than 3,000 students, all showing their support for the UNM Lobos.