ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — It’s the most entertaining day of the year at the U.S. Naval Academy.

It’s Herndon Monument Climb Day — when the academy’s 1,000 or so freshmen, known as the plebe class, attempt to climb the 21-foot tall Herndon Monument and remove the plebe hat or “dixie cup” from the top. The obelisk is covered in vegetable shortening, which makes the already challenging task, more difficult.

This year it took the plebes more than two hours to climb the monument and they used a little ingenuity to knock the dixie cup off the top.

About 40 minutes in, cheers were heard from the students who thought they had completed the challenge because they placed a upperclassman’s hat on the top of the monument, but they weren’t done yet because they need to knock off the dixie cup first.

It’s an annual tradition the academy says, demonstrates “the teamwork and perseverance they have learned during their first year at the academy.”

The students build a human pyramid to remove the cap and once complete they are known as the fourth-class midshipmen

The task normally takes one to three hours to complete.

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