By Talbert Toole
The Ole Miss Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) programs traveled by caravan to Calhoun City Monday morning where they met face-to-face with Mississippi State’s respective programs in honor of the annual Egg Bowl Run.
Rebel fans and Bulldog lovers alike gathered at the city’s square pavilion to cheer on the cadets from each university.
Mississippi State began the ran at 4 a.m. in Starkville, trekking approximately 53 miles to the host city of the official handoff.
Ke’Ondre Davis, cadet captain and cadet public affairs officer of the Mississippi State ROTC, said school rivalries aside, the Bulldog Battalion enjoyed cooperating with the Ole Miss cadets for the 6th Annual Egg Bowl Run.
“We would like to extend a thank you to all the family and friends who showed support as well as give a special thank you to the patrons of the Calhoun City for their outstanding support to the event every year,” Davis said.
After having some fun rivalry discourse, the game day ball was officially passed to the Ole Miss ROTC. The two teams ran two laps around the city’s square before the Ole Miss program transcended down Highway 9 North towards Oxford.
The Ole Miss cadets run a varying amount of miles between Oxford and Calhoun City each year, according to Anthony Douglas, sergeant first class (SFC) of the Ole Miss ROTC.
“We’ve had years when a cadet has attempted to run the whole 42 miles, or set a goal to run at least 18 miles,” Douglas said.
This year the Ole Miss cadets ran approximately 7 miles each—1.5 miles at Calhoun City, 4 miles between Calhoun City and Oxford, and 1.5 miles from University Ave’s Burger King to The Square—Douglas said.
The Ole Miss cadets arrived to Oxford at 6:15 p.m., which was an hour and a half faster than previous years, Douglas said.
The annual Egg Bowl Run was first established by Master Sgt. Matthew Hayes (UMS AROTC SMI 2013-2016) in order to develop a deeper relationship between the University of Mississippi Army (UMS AROTC) and Ole Miss Athletics.
This event was also meant to allow the University of Mississippi Army ROTC the opportunity to provide something “extra” to Mississippi State’s biggest game of the year, Douglas said.
“This event is important because it allows the universities to see the fortitude that their cadets are developing,” he said. “It allows the cadets to give their universities something that is not divisive that we can all stand behind.”
The two AROTC programs have a great relationship, according to Douglas. He said the most interaction the two respective programs have with one another is during field training exercises that the cadets attend three to four days once a semester at either Camp McCain, located near Grenada, or Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg.
“These exercises are focused on improving and assessing the cadets’ tactical competency and leadership skill,” Douglas said. “The Egg Bowl Run, however, allows the
cadets to experience each other through a singular focus with a singular goal.”
The Ole Miss Rebels will challenge the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for the Egg Bowl Trophy on Thursday. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m.
For more information on the University of Mississippi’s Army ROTC program, visit their website.