The final rolling of Toomer's

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They never achieved any feats on the football field to compare with the likes of Pat Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Cam Newton, and they never led groups of young men to victory as Ralph "Shug" Jordan and Pat Dye did, yet they are as much a part of Auburn football history as any of them.

For some 25 years the Auburn faithful have rolled the two oaks on Toomer's Corner after the football team achieved victory on the gridiron, but that valued tradition will come to an end after the A-Day game this Saturday, April 20.

The final rolling of the trees will take place after the spring showcase of the football team, and along with the general chaos that is hundreds of people throwing toilet paper at the trees, there will be a 20-minute ceremony for them at 5 p.m.

In order to understand the importance of the oaks their history must be examined.

The trees were planted in 1880. No one knows exactly who planted the famed oaks, but it has been speculated that Judge John Harper, founder of the city of Auburn put the acorns in the ground.

Regardless of who planted them, the oaks' age is approximately 133-years-old, and they will not see another year.

Students began to congregate at what is now known as Toomer's Corner in 1892 for the purpose of celebrating football victories.

Not long after, the employees at Toomer's Drugstore threw ticker tape from their telegraph machine on nearby power lines to signal an Auburn football away victory.

The tradition of flinging ticker tape onto power lines to signal victory morphed into toilet paper in 1962. By this time it was fans celebrating the Tiger victories, not employees spreading the good news.

It should be noted that for 27 years none thought to throw toilet paper on the giant oak trees next to the power lines; that is, until 1989.

On December 2, 1989 the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide was undefeated before they entered Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time. They left with a mark in the loss column for the season to the delight of the sellout crowd after falling to the Tigers 30-20.

Pandemonium ensued and the celebration was taken to Toomer's Corner.

It seems fitting that the first time Alabama lost at Auburn was also the first time the Toomer's oaks were caked with a thick coat of toilet paper.

Since 1989 the tradition has rolled strong.

The most famous moment in the oaks' history occurred the night of January 10, 2011 when hundreds came to Toomer's Corner to unleash pound after pound of toilet paper on the trees in celebration of the Tigers' first national championship in football since 1957.

That was the last time the oaks would be seemingly healthy for a football celebration.

On January 27, 2011, barely two weeks after the national championship, a man by the name of "Al from Dadeville" called the Paul Finebaum Radio Network and said, "The weekend after the Iron Bowl, I went to Auburn because I lived 30 miles away, and I poisoned the two Toomer's trees. I put Spike 80DF in them."

Finebaum then asked if they were dead, and the caller responded by saying, "They're not dead yet, but they definitely will die."

On February 16, 2011 it was made official that the oaks were contaminated with 65 times the lethal amount of Spike 80DF needed to kill the trees.

It was later found out that the caller was actually Harvey Updyke, not an Alabama alumnus, but a hardcore fan who went as far as committing a criminal act against Auburn.

Updyke was recently sentenced to six months in jail and five years of supervised probation for killing the oaks.

After the final rolling of the trees Saturday, April 20, they will be cut down.

Tuesday, April 23 is the scheduled day for the oaks to be felled.

Once the oaks are gone, the leftover wood will be crafted into commemorative items that anyone can buy, and proceeds will go toward scholarships.

During the ceremony at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 20 the University will unveil its plans for a replacement structure or trees on the corner, though a replacement for 133-year-old trees will certainly take some time to get used to.

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