Llama

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The Llama

The Llama is a plaster casted llama-shaped pinata. NOTE: At Duke East, the "LL" is pronounced as a 'y,' like in Spanish (since pinata is a Spanish word). At Kansas, it is pronounced in the English sense with an 'l' sound. It's like a giraffe, but it's not like a giraffe, it's like a cow, but it's not like a cow, it's like a horse. It is an East Term II tradition, dating from 1996 EDIT: 1995 (as of 2005 TIP Lore) and a University of Kansas Term II tradition dating from 2007.

The Llama at Duke East

The Llama is a symbol of llove (this word is given to ll's) and unity in the TIP community.

The llama has a star on the top of her head which you are supposed to kiss. Supposedly if you rub your penis on it, it will grow 5 inches (or something). Duke president Richard Brodhead almost kissed her in 2004, but was foiled at the last minute by his advisors. A common expression that may be heard at East II is "llama llove."

Every year, she "flies." This can happen in various ways, one of the simplest of which is to just throw it out a window, on a fishing line. This usually is not very spectacular.However, each llama mama gets more and more creative for their own "Flight of the Llama". In 2016, the Llama Mama, Greg Svirnovskiy, flew her on a zipline from Andrew Gavin's window on the third floor of Brown to the quad. In 2017, the Llama Mama, Daniela Garcia, flew her in a large bubble by enclosing her and having everyone gather around on the quad to throw her.

(Edit: In 2004, the Llama was, in fact, the recipient of at least 3 substantiated cases of "love juice". The Llama posse tricked many younger TiPsters into kissing the Llama afterward which is shall we say "just gross".)

Origins of the Llama

There are several stories as to the origin of the Llama at Duke East. No story was ever proven, and none is ever expected to be proven.

Origin Story 1

The first, told in 2004 to second-years by fourth-years, went as follows. There was a drama class at TIP (ca 1994), and they were putting on a play. For the play, they needed a pinata. So a llama pinata was procured. After the play, an as-yet-unidentified female student took it out into the TIP world with her.

As it turned out, the metaphorical "birth" of the llama coincided with an insurgence of Spanish-speaking TIPsters. Just to be cute, or perhaps due to a misread flyer or some sort, they began pronouncing the name of this mythical being with a "y" sound, as in the general Spanish pronunciation of "ll". TIPsters over the years have pointed out that although the pronunciation of llama is not correct in either English, or Spanish, the mispronunciation is a crucial part of the Llama's mystique.

There was also a philosophy class at East that year, as there so often is. One of the theories established in this class, based on a philosophical reading, was that "if thrown from a height, anything (e.g. a toaster) can fly." Thus, a plan was hatched.

The newly anointed Llama Mama took the Llama to the third floor of her dorm and threw her (the Llama, not the mama) out over the quad. Sadly, the llama proved the philosophical TIPsters theory tragically wrong, however, a tradition was born. The flying of the Llama, which has come to symbolize TIPsters power over the very force of gravity.

The RCs that fateful year, however, disapproved of this sacred ritual, and attempted to end the flying of the Lllama. Apparently, it was against TIP policy to flow pinatas from high places. These dastardly RCs confiscated the Llama, and hid him away.This enraged the TIPsters, who quickly bound together and successfully performed a coup, to return the Llama to it's rightful place. The unity that was achieved at the theft of the Llama was that of which had never been seen in history, and so, another tradition was born. Every year that has followed, the great Llama has been stolen by the RCs, and TIPsters of all kinds have bound together to retrieve it. This has come to symbolize the TIPsters power over the RCs.

AT the end of the term that changed the face of TIP forever, the Llama Mama, who was a fourth-year, passed the Llama on to her favorite third year to bring back and spread the joy to future TIPgenerations. And so, the Llama was born.

Origin Story 2

Another story exists as to the Llama's birth. This is the one given at a 2004 edition of TIPlore, presented by the Trinity of Daag, Mark, and Sam. It begins with a teacher who loved practical jokes and supply request forms.

There was a World Culture professor at TIP (ca 1995-6) who loved playing practical jokes, and was fed up with the denial of his reasonable requests by the TIP staff. To get back at them, he put in a joke request form asking for the following things:

  • a sacrificial altar
  • goat's blood
  • The Dalai Lama
  • And many more.

Knowing that it was meant as a joke, his fellow TIP staff meant to procure him something on his list. Now, they couldn't get a virgin (harming the students was strictly against the rules), and they couldn't get an altar, and they couldn't get goat's blood, and they couldn't get the Dalai Lama. The closest they could get to one of the things on the list was a Llama.

The story goes that they were originally going to rent a living llama and take it up to his room, but the man who owned the llamas wouldn't let them take the llama inside.

So they settled for the Llama. At first, it was just pictures of the Llama doing things in places all over campus, and it created an uproar. What was the story with this pinata? Whose was it? Why were there pictures in the dorms?

After the Llama was presented to the professor, legend states students banded together and stole it from him.

This story was confirmed by Professor John Kane, who was at TIP when the Llama came into being. Dr. Kane refused to give any details on who actually ordered the pinata, leading some to believe that it was, in fact, him.

Origin Story 3

Two TIPsters named Bill Rutledge and Matt Beller took a Llama pinata from their Architecture classroom being taught in the Bivins Building on East Campus in 1996. Upon discovering the llama, legend holds that Bill asked it, "¿Cómo se llama?". The llama responded simply, "Llama."

Llama accompanies Angela and Graham
Llama looking ravishing.

Bill and Matt constructed a parachute for Llama out of a bed sheet from Brown dorm and some rope. Thus began the tradition of Llama Defenestration. Llama flew several times before being confiscated by RA Bronwyn Bedient, who called it a "safety hazard." A threat signed by "Friends of Llama" was left taped to Bronwyn's door demanding her return. Llama was returned to her people during the Miss TIP pageant by the lovely Graham Hubbs, escorted by the handsome Angela Carpenter.


Llama returned to TIP in 1997 with Matt Beller equipped with a zip line plus some improvised leg splints held on by duct tape. The story of how Llama's legs were deformed during the brief 49 week break between the 1996 and 1997 terms remains a mystery. In 1998, Llama fueled a rather unpleasant streak of violence as a result of some strained RA/Tipster relations (no need to further discuss this part). In 1999, Llama was once again a symbol of joy and fun.

In early parlance, the one in charge of the llama was known as the "keeper of the llama" and only later changed to become the "Llama Mama."

The cast was added in 2002, when the Llama was, of course, five or six years old and getting rough around the edges. The Llama Mama was the daughter of an orthopedic surgeon, hence the cast. She got a few friends together after casting the Llama and they painted it/her- a simple polka-dot and stripe job with a red Communist star on her head. This is not the zany paint job the Llama has now. In the summer of 2005, the Llama was repainted in zebra stripes, polka dots, stars, and other patterns. The star was repainted maroon with a gold outline.

As of 2011, the llama has a white star with a black outline and matching eyes.

Llama Mamas

Note: The Llama belongs to ALL TiPsters, the Llama mama is only her keeper.

1996: Bill Rutledge & Matt Beller
1997: Matt Beller
1998: Melissa Spence
1999: Geoff Geis
2000: April Goldman (name contributed by Masaru Oka)     Charlie Stone (2004 RC) claimed to be a former llama mama but it appears to be false [Surname contributed by Kinky Tom]
2001: Miriam Goldberg
2002: Lauren Edelman
2003: Tyler Evans
2004: Maggie Bashford
2005: Kathleen Mayer
2006: Eric Mefford
2007: AC/DC
2008: Kyle "Badass" Jones
2009: Colin Groundwater
2010: Alli Schloeman
2011: George Saussy a.k.a "Saucy"
2012: Emily Bergquist
2013: Ellison Hersch
2014: Mia Love
2015: Colin Bronack
2016: Greg Svirnovskiy
2017: Daniela Garcia
2018: Kate Adkins

Llama Drama

Llama Campaigns in 2004

In 2004, the llama flew over Brown and down to the light-post in front of Alspaugh, floated in the air by some 144 helium-filled balloons.

There have been some prominent llama campaigns over the year. 2004 was full of them. On the 2nd Sunday after Lip Sync, the Llama posse scoured the campus, searching out any TIPsters who did not have llama llove and making them kiss the llama. There was also a hunger strike announced at the end of lip sync. This was in response to the Llama's disappearance earlier that week. Many TIPsters participated on the following Monday. Most only did it for a day, but Peter Sloan did it for the rest of the week, first going entirely without food or water, then slowly switching to water and then apple juice and soy milk, but never food.

The Llama was recovered when it was spotted in a crate hanging from a second-story window in Bassett by fourth-years returning from class. Mark had taken it from the lip of a trash can, where Peter had left it because it "looked so cute." The Trinity and other RCs were holed up in the empty room with wiffleball bats. Students across all years stormed the room, stole bats, and the Llama Posse, with the assistance of Kathleen Mayer, were able to recover the Llama and commence with flight planning.

Llama Plot of 2005

In 2005, the TAs faked the llama's demise by sending up a fake llama tied to 101/98 helium balloons (101 purchased. 3 broke in the car).

Llama Escapades in 2006

The llama was an item on the Scavenger Hunt list at Quadfest 2006, as it often is, but the people doing the Scavenger Hunt for Alspaugh decided it was a sacrifice they were not willing to make and won the Scavenger Hunt without turning in the llama. The rumors that they willingly gave the llama up to the RCs is not true. The llama was stolen fair and square when a Tipster whose name starts with J was holding the llama and yatta-ing back into Alspaugh in a crowd after Quadfest. Sam the OSC grabbed it out of his hand and ran with it to a waiting car.

So Sam the OSC, in an effort to bring up the TiPster spirit for the Term said that they would have to get the llama back in order to stay up on the last night. This is also when the llama was put up on eBay for $7.25, the price of Beef and Broccoli at the Rainbow Chinese Restaurant. (interesting note- beef and broccoli is actually $7.85 but that didn't fit in the chant quite as well)

Llama ebay photoshoot.jpg

After having his office raided for the llama, Sam the OSC (there were 3 Sams on staff that term) said that he would give us the key to the room where the llama was if the TiPsters could show enough spirit. And thus the demonstrations began.

Anti-Llama Mama sentiment was growing in East Term II. For example, during the aforementioned demonstrations, Hanna Hope blamed the Llama Posse for the llama's theft, and many questioned why the Llama Mama himself wouldn't take part in the pro-llama demonstrations. It was alleged that he had refused second and third years the right to touch the llama; however, this is untrue. A similar incident whence the rumour probably arises occured when Eric entrusted the llama for a day to the third year Hanna Bridges-Curry; as a joke, she lectured a second year and told him that he couldn't kiss it (I don't know which gender the second year was, so I just used male pronouns). However, on Wednesday July 26th, when the Llama eBay price had risen to over $150.00, the llama was returned to students. This was done so under the agreement that Anthony Chivetta and Hanna Hope act as foster parents, of sorts. The llama was then stolen again by the staff from 4th years during the last dancing of American Pie. But it was shortly aferwards returned. The Llama was, in the end, passed down to AC/DC (sometimes called Tyler).

The Llama in Swine '09

The first night of Term II, 2009, the RC's kidnapped the Llama. Colin Groundwater, the Llama Mama, ROSH'd with Peter for her, but lost. He then attempted to give up his title, and give the Llama to the collective fourth-year population, who refused. She was eventually returned, and upon the early closing of TIP was impromptu-flown from the third-floor window of Bassett to the statue of B. Duke on a rope zipline, but was stolen by Robert the RC mid-flight. The TIPsters frantically chased the fleeing RCs past the archways between Brown and Bassett dorms, but were threatened if they went any further. Many answered "What are you going to do, send us home?" as they had been told that morning of TIP's untimely closing. Peter then threatened to quarantine the TIPsters until they went home.

Colin conferred with Peter, and told the TIPsters to assemble in a circle on the Circle Quad to sing American Pie. Every TIPster attended, and, united, sang American Pie, complete with kicks (a somewhat difficult task as it was Wear a Skirt Wednesday) and guitar accompaniment, courtesy of Fat Tony Giovanni. After they finished, Peter and Robert drove by in a silver SUV, and gave her back. The passing-down ceremony was held in the middle of the circle, and the Llama was given to Alli Schloeman.

The Llama's Kidnapping in 2010: By Staff and 2nd Years

On the last Wednesday (7/28/10) of TIP East Term 2 2010, the Llama was kidnapped, right before her flying. The 2nd Years of Alspaugh felt that the Llama should be for all Tipsters, not just the 4th Years, (despite the fact that the Llama has /always/ been for all tipsters...) so they decided to steal the Llama (Code Name: T-Shirt), co-conspired by Jakob With a K and (Elizabeth) Lizzie T. During lunch, at about 12:30 or so, Lizzie T lured Alli outside to take a picture with the Llama in front of the Duke statue. Stephan was a distraction; he pretended to steal the Llama, but that was the "stealing" Alli thought would happen. While taking the pic, Lizzie T tossed the Llama to Bryan. An unidentifiable 4th Year decided to hold on to Bryan, but as planned, the blockers, Jon, Colin, and Chandler, pulled the 4th Year off of Bryan. Bryan ran into Alspaugh (where John the RC AKA Lil Tasty was) where Sofia held open the door, and Kathryn waited in her room to hide the Llama. Bryan decided to go to his room to hide the Llama instead of Kathryn's. This plan was very successful, but one RC and 2 TAs (who will remain un-named) threatened to expel all who were involved in the Llama stealing (which they could not do, but the Tipsters did not know that until after). The Tipsters were forced to return the Llama ten minutes later. The 2nd Years were infuriated, because they stole the Llama fair and square, and they had the approval of many of the RCs. This kidnapping led to the 'NEW' 2nd Year tradition of the FAB Sash and the Pimp/Bro Stick Bropack, given to by Lil Tasty.

'Tipsters Actually Involved' (All Were 2nd Years - with the exception of Lil Tasty): Elizabeth (Lizzie T), Jakob With A K, Bryan, Sofia, Kathryn, Chandler, Colin, Jon, Stephan

The Llama's Blood Brother

The Llama became blood brother with Matt Rothardt of Sam Bagg's RAG when he caught it on its secondary flight. Matt was cut due to the Llama's high velocity, and his blood can be seen on a purple stripe on the Llama's chest.

The Llama's Current State

Currently, the Llama is in need of repair, as several cracks in the cast and other problems have been noticed. It is probable that the Llama's 2006 flight (which culminated in it just plain falling when its zipline broke) caused her already old shell to become more unstable. The Llama was, however repaired at the end of the 2007 Term II, right before being presented to the new Llama Mama.

The Llama, for the last week or so until the last dance in 2008, was in the hands of the staff. She was shown in a Youtube video called Llama's Llast Llaugh (in which Will Harris played the Joker) having her ear cut off. This video can be found on YouTube. There is a general consensus amongst TiPsters that it was a disgusting scene, and that Will was a very good Joker. Peter Sloan is suspected by many to be the one who sawed off the Llama's ear. This suspicion is supported by Peter's description of the properties of the ideal Llama-cutting handsaw, including being able to be bought at Walmart at 4 in the morning (it was only 2 a.m. -wdh), and being less than $10 (And it was only $4.50 -wdh). He was also heard to say it was difficult to saw through because there was some kind of metal wire in the middle of her ear.

The Llama's Future State

As always, the Llama will be surrounded by lloving tipsters, who will protect her from any harm. He/she symbolizes llove, happiness, and the times of our lives at a place where students are intelligent enough to make up an entire mythological being and history.

The Llama's Facebook

The Llama was the first TIP icon to have its own facebook page. The Llama is listed as being in a complicated relationship with Quadzilla, the inflatable dinosaur originally owned by Sarah Lowe.

Although many speculate, no one knows for sure who exactly controls the Llama's facebook page or who created it.

After years of searching through the dusty digital archives of Facebook, the Llama's page has been found and anybody that wishes to "friend" the Llama, must now only search for the name Llama Llove.