“Out in the west Texas town of El Paso, there is a team that they call the Miners.”
This eclectic border town is home to the University of Texas El-Paso. Originally founded as the State School of Mines and Metallurgy, UTEP’s nickname of Miners is a perfect fit. The school has embraced its Miner identity with a swagger-filled mascot (Paydirt Pete), pickaxe icons that engulf campus, and a historic stadium carved into the mountains.
Energy on gameday is palpable with echoing cheers in the stadium concourse as throngs of fans gather to welcome the team as they enter The Sun Bowl for warmups through a tunnel aptly labeled The Miner Shaft. Many schools offer opportunities for fans to connect with their team, but this one is especially unique as it occurs within the walls of the stadium.
The pickaxe symbol is omnipresent on football Saturdays. Seen in many forms and sizes, this icon represents the pride and power of the UTEP community. Oversized pickaxe monuments are ideal for photo opportunities while pickaxe hand gestures involving the outstretched pinky and thumb are utilized as a visual battle cry. The pickaxe is the longest known symbol representing UTEP, reaching back to 1919. It’s presence continues to ignite fan spirit today.
The stadium itself might be the most alluring aspect of UTEP gamedays. The Sun Bowl has been nestled into a carved out space within the mountains since 1963 and hosts the annual postseason The Sun Bowl game. During the regular season, UTEP is proud to call this iconic venue home. Every angle offers beautiful mountainous views that are further enhanced by a setting sun.
UTEP football may not always make headlines, but that doesn’t take away from the passionate fan base that converges upon the “915” to cheer on their Miners. The UTEP gameday experience is one of college football’s gems that make this sport treasured.