BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A continued tradition at the U.S. Naval Academy as the plebes, or freshmen, climb the Herndon Monument to officially become midshipmen.

On Monday, the freshman class at the U.S. Naval Academy joined as one to remove and replace a hat from a lard-covered monument.

This is a tradition that doesn’t disappoint, nor wrap up quickly.

This is the gateway for the freshmen, or plebes, as they officially become midshipmen.

Herndon Monument sat covered in vegetable shortening, just waiting for the class of 2020 to tackle it.

And with the sound of the cannon, more than 800 plebes rushed towards the monument to form a human pyramid.

Once the freshmen remove the “dixie cup” hat, and replace it with an upperclassman hat, they are plebes no more.

Still at it more than two hours in, the plebes came so close time, and time, and time again.

And with 2 hours, 21 minutes, and 21 seconds on the clock, Joe McGraw, a political science major from Rockford, Illinois, is victorious.

The first Herndon Monument Climb was back in 1959, with the class of 1962 clocking in at 12 minutes, but without any grease, lard, or vegetable shortening covering the monument.

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