By Harper Mayfield | Sports Writer
2020 has seen changes in the way a lot of things have been done at Baylor, and homecoming festivities are no exception. In lieu of Baylor’s traditional homecoming parade, the university is hosting its first Boxcar Bash, an event similar to the Boy Scouts’ Pinewood Derby.
“We can’t really have a full-size parade this year, that’s the world we’re living in right now,” Waco junior Cole Tompkins, one of the organizers of the event, said. “So we said ‘What can we do that’s gonna give the students something tangible to hold onto and actually participate with and can be done socially distanced?,’ and this is the best solution we came up with.”
The Boxcar Bash, similar to the homecoming parade, is open to all.
“It’s really simple, you have to be in Waco,” Tompkins said, “you have to be in Waco and willing to build a car.”
While the Boxcar Bash is similar to the Pinewood Derby, the two events do have their differences.
“[In] the speed rounds, we’re using a lot of their same criteria … their tracks … their same cars that they use,” Frisco junior Ashley Madden said. “The design categories are less restrictive as far as weight and height and all those things, because they don’t actually have to race.”
Madden, a member of the Baylor Chamber of Commerce, was assigned to work on homecoming well before anyone really knew what it would look like. Since then, numerous changes have been made to the original format. Madden said that Chamber had gone through several different ideas before landing on the boxcars, and it was important for the whole planning committee to “[take] the punches as they come.”
While some on-campus groups will still produce the full-sized floats often associated with Baylor homecoming, the Boxcar Bash created an opportunity for other groups to get involved with the weekend.
“I thought it would be a fun way to get into the whole homecoming scene, since we aren’t having one this year,” said El Paso sophomore Lauren Gil.
Gil is a member of the Bear Pit, Baylor basketball’s official student section, and is submitting a car on behalf of the organization.
“We just added a bunch of new members to the club, so I thought it’d be a cool way to get everyone to bond, and build this car, and hopefully win some prizes,” said Gil.
Among the prizes available to competitors are a football signed by head coach Dave Aranda, a basketball signed by women’s head coach Kim Mulkey, and castings of Lady and Joy’s paw prints.
“I’m just glad they’re doing something this big for the students during such a hard time,” Gil said.
The in-person event will have limited capacity for attendance, but it can be streamed online by students, fans, and alumni alike. The Boxcar Bash will take place tonight during the homecoming pep rally, which will be from 8-10 p.m.