Smokey the Cannon
is an artillery
piece used as part of the pageantry of college football
games of The University of Texas Longhorns
. Smokey is operated and cared for by the Texas Cowboys
, a University student organization. Smokey is fired each time the Longhorns score, at every kick-off, and at the end of each quarter. The cannon is present for all home games, and for some away games when not prohibited by local rules.
The original cannon, Smokey I, was constructed at the University's mechanical engineering lab in 1953
, in response to shotgun blasts often heard at the Red River Shootout
— the annual Texas-Oklahoma football game.
Smokey I was modified in 1995 to shoot twin 10-gauge shotgun shells. This revision was renamed Smokey II.
The current version of the cannon, Smokey III, weighs 1,200 pounds and fires up to four blank 10-gauge shells at a time. The cannon was built in 1988 by Lupton Machinery of Austin out of the trunk of an oak tree. Alumni donations were raised to cover the cannon's $25,000 cost.