Many Saddle Tramps have had the honor of ringing Bangin' Bertha, but a handful have taken the simple task and turned it into something much more than that. First there was the long haired Saddle Tramp in the Houston Bowl.
Then in 2008 Big Phil became a national phenomenon (and VTM fan)
But last Saturday a young Saddle Tramp from San Antonio with a wicked smile and a gleam in his eye took Bangin' Bertha to a whole new level.
The joy has returned to Lubbock Texas! https://t.co/XibZkYHoYk— SARR (@FakeWillyT) September 8, 2013
His name is Greg Charlesworth but he goes by Hanz on Twitter because of course he does. We caught up with him this week to get a little history on Bangin' Bertha and yes we asked him the question that everyone in the country wants to know.
VTM: Thanks for taking the time to do this. How long have you been at Tech and how long have you been with the Saddle Tramps?
Greg: This will be my third year at Tech and third year in Saddle Tramps.
VTM: Your Twitter feed has a bit of a German flair. Do you have German roots?
Greg: I am German, not from Germany but from heavy German roots. The Christmas after my first semester at Tech my grandparents thought I needed a pair of lederhosen, and so I got them. They have now become a joke. I also speak German especially late into the weekends. Because of these two things people started calling me "Hanz", and now more and more people know me as Hanz than Greg.
VTM: What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Saddle Tramps?
Greg: In Saddle Tramps, I am the Pledge Trainer, and head of the Smokin Joe Committee which involves cooking for the rest of the Saddle Tramps. We have a 7 foot smoker and I spent last winter welding a new trailer for it. Thursdays when we wrap campus and saturdays before the game, I'm there cooking for all the other Saddle Tramps. Hot dogs and hamburgers get boring, so brisket, sausage, and smoked chicken are usually on the menu. Cooking for them is what I most like about Saddle Tramps.
VTM: What are you hoping to do after graduating from Tech?
Greg: When it comes to graduation, I will graduate with a degree in History in the Fall of 2014. Everyone asks me what I'm going to do with a degree in history, and as of now, nothing. I currently work in the construction industry, along with school, and Saddle Tramps. As of now, I'm looking at construction management. I have honestly learned more in my 7 years in construction than I have yet at Tech.
VTM: And now for the 800 pound gorilla in the room question. You guys know exactly what you're doing, right? It's become sort of a cult phenomenon. I had a buddy of mine in Washington send me a video of his 2 year old son making an odd hand motion and he said he was getting ready to try out as the bell ringer at Tech. Do you know who started it and have you guys gotten any push back for it?
Greg: After the first bell ringer video with the guy with the long hair, we all know what we're doing. We have a nomination process at each meeting as to who gets to ring the bell for each game. So the person that get picked knows what going to happen. Personally, with the "Hanz" thing, and ringing the bell, I'll embarrass myself on a weekly basis, so with all the reaction to this past week ringing the bell, it is what it is and doesn't bother me one bit. Its funny though, many people who don't know Texas Tech, know about the bell ringer. In fact, I graduated from the same high school as Jace Amaro, and everyone told us "Why Lubbock? Are you going to be like that bell ringer guy?" Even those who come to Tech and are familiar with the traditions very rarely associate the bell ring with Saddle Tramps.... unless there is a situation like the original bell ringer, Big Phil, or myself.
VTM: One of our favorites has been Big Phil and we always post a GIF of him ringing the shit outta that bell and wagging his tongue in our post game threads after a win. Your performance last Saturday earned you a spot in our victory celebrations though. Any plans to top it? That smile took it over the top.
Greg: For the TCU game, I wont be ringing the bell, someone else was nominated, but I have heard the same comments about my smile my entire life. I rang the bell for the New Mexico game and so I went into it with the same attitude as last weekend. It is what it is, so make the most of it. I would like to be able to ring the bell in my lederhosen one day, but it would take permission from pretty high up outside of Saddle Tramps to let me be able to do it.
VTM: Lederhosen! Oh, hell yes. We need to help make this happen. I can see an Oktoberfest atmosphere during a home game in late October with Hanz banging the hell outta that bell wearing the lederhosen that his oma gave him. This needs to happen. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Greg: Just a little history on the bell. Bangin' Bertha was donated by the Sante Fe Railroad, from one of the original Saddle Tramps in the mid 1950's who worked from them, and we have been ringing Bangin Bertha since then.