Harvey Updyke agrees to dunk tank

ByMark Schlabach ESPN logo
Thursday, August 21, 2014

Auburn football fans might finally be able to seek their revenge against Harvey Updyke.

Updkye, the Alabama fan who infamously poisoned Auburn's beloved oak trees at Toomer's Corner in 2010, has agreed to appear at a charity event Sept. 27 in Mobile, Alabama, in which fans will be allowed to either dunk him in a dunking booth or throw pies at his face.

"He thought about it and thought about it," Updyke's wife, Elva, said. "His daughter said he needed to do it because it will show that he's not as big of a nut as some people believe. He told them they can do whatever they want to him if it will raise money for kids."

T.J. Hodges, an Alabama fan living near Chicago, is organizing the event to help raise money for the family of John Oliver, a boy from outside Mobile who died of cancer in July. Hodges started a nonprofit organization, Roses From Linda, after his mother passed away that helps raise money for family members to visit terminally ill patients before they die.

Hodges said he's still working out the particulars of the event, but former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, now with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals, and his mother, Dee Dee Bonner, are helping organize and raise awareness for the charity event.

"The Harvey Updyke idea came from me thinking outside the box to raise money for the family," Hodges said. "I thought I'd take a chance and see if Harvey was interested in helping, and he said he'd do whatever we wanted."

Updyke, a former Texas state trooper, was arrested in February 2011 after a man calling himself "Al from Dadeville" phoned Paul Finebaum's radio show and boasted of pouring herbicide around the 130-year-old oak trees following Auburn's win over rival Alabama in the 2010 Iron Bowl. The caller signed off Finebaum's radio show by saying, "Roll Damn Tide."

Updyke pleaded guilty in March 2013 to one count of unlawful damage of an animal or crop facility. He was sentenced to six months in jail and served 76 days after being credited for 104 days of time already served.

Updyke, who now lives in Albany, Louisiana, also was sentenced to five years of probation and banned from attending any college sporting event for the rest of his life. In addition, he is prohibited from stepping foot on the Auburn campus again. A judge ordered Updyke to pay nearly $800,000 in restitution to Auburn University.

As part of his sentence, Updyke was banned from talking to the media.

Updyke's wife said he realizes Auburn fans probably will show up at the Mobile charity event to take a shot at him.

"He knows there's going to be a lot of Auburn fans there, but he doesn't care," Elva Updyke said. "He's 65 years old. What are they going to do to him? They'll have security there."

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