Homecoming bonfire keeps WSU fans warm
Oct 15, 2011 (Menafn - Moscow-Pullman Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --Two-year-old Logan Chartrand already was singing the Washington State University fight song when he woke up Friday morning.
"I heard it on the monitor," mom and WSU alumna Jenny Chartrand said. "He came walking down the stairs with his stuffed Butch (T. Cougar) in his arms, pointed at the door and said, 'Pullman.'"
The Chartrands, including Jenny's husband and fellow WSU alumnus Paul, were on campus this weekend to celebrate homecoming. They brought Logan to Friday's annual bonfire and pep rally, where he danced to the marching band and searched for the life-sized Butch.
"He likes being social and seeing people get into it," Jenny said of her son.
Logan isn't the only Chartrand with a passion for Cougar football. The family travels to almost every WSU football game from their home in the Tri-Cities.
"We love the camaraderie," Paul said. "We tailgate with fellow alumni at every game."
For homecoming there are more people, he said, gesturing toward the crowd that had gathered along Flag Lane for Friday's rally. The weather was cool and rainy, but everyone was warm once the traditional bonfire began.
"We have 65 pallets of wood, a gallon of lighter fluid and a flare," WSU senior Brendan Vermeulen said.
He and other Student Alumni Ambassadors helped to plan Friday's event, which is intended to bring the WSU community together as one "Cougar nation," said Preston Smith, an Alumni Association member.
"Bonfires help to bring school spirit," Smith said. "It gets everyone excited for the game tomorrow."
WSU plays Stanford at 4:30 p.m. today in Pullman.
The rally also serves as an opportunity to honor other student athletes, Smith said. Members of various WSU teams took the stage Friday to introduce themselves and talk about their group's accomplishments throughout the year.
Later, several students performed a skit, dressing as loggers to cut down a fake tree labeled "Stanford."
"Sometimes they burn the mascot of the other school," Shawn Burviance said as he enjoyed the show.
Burviance and his wife Lori Burviance of Anchorage, Alaska, have enjoyed Homecoming for the past four years with WSU senior Meagan Freeman.
"We love it," Shawn said. "We love the town and how crazy everybody gets on football weekends."
The entire state seems to embrace Cougar pride as well, with Gov. Christine Gregoire declaring Friday as WSU Homecoming Day.
"I am urging all citizens to join me in the special observance," she said. "Go Cougs!"
The festivities continue Saturday, beginning with the unveiling of a WSU Cougar-themed Pullman Transit bus at 10 a.m. near the Cougar Pride statue, 720 N.E. Stadium Way.
A kickoff event will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Compton Union Building Senior Ballroom, which will be open to all football fans. The room provides a view of WSU's field, and several large screen televisions will broadcast multiple football games throughout the day.
The Cougar Prowl starts at 2:15 p.m., with alumni, students and fans forming a tunnel to cheer on arriving football players and coaches on their way to the Hollingbery Fieldhouse. Cougar Football Saturday at the fieldhouse will include a food fair, with entertainment from the WSU marching band, cheerleaders and Butch the Cougar.
For ticket information, go online to the Washington State Cougar ticket site, or call 1-800 Go Cougs. Visitors are encouraged to check out information on game day parking and free Pullman Transit routes at parking.wsu.edu/Gameday2.
Katie Roenigk can be reached at (208) 882-5561, ext. 301, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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