ARKADELPHIA, Ark. – In the small town of Arkadelphia, 51 weeks out of the year, people work, play, and worship together. However, for a stretch of seven days, the town is deeply divided.
Half of the town wears maroon and the other half wears purple.
The Battle of the Ravine football game between rivals Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University has traditions dating back decades.
Ouachita Baptist student Will Green along with his social club, Rho Sigma, and Ouachita student body, guard the statue of the tiger. The tiger is OBU’s mascot.
“They would do things like cut the tail off, or paint it red and silver, and just vandalize it in their colors,” Green said.
Henderson State student Madi Lee said they guard the fountain from Ouachita students.
“They try to put purple dye in it, so that the fountain will be purple,” Lee said.
Those aren’t the only past pranks of the Battle of the Ravine. Those driving down Highway 67 at night will see both stadiums’ lights on through the night, protecting both football fields.
While the pranks aren’t acceptable anymore, it’s all done more for tradition.
“It’s like more for fun and games,” Lee said.
Both students said the week gives everyone a chance to hang out and get involved.
“We are out here 24/7, a lot of the members actually sleep in the tents,” Green said.
Green and Lee said it’s a week they look forward to each year.
“We have something going on every single day,” Lee said. “We have pep rallies speeches from the captain trying to get us pepped up.”
All the students hope the legends and the legacy of the unique football game continue on forever.
“It means a lot, the student body really rallies around this event and everyone just has a great time,” Green said.