This U.S. Naval Academy tradition is the greatest reality show you've probably never seen

Phoenix native Peter Rossi finally "capped" the Herndon Monument more than two hours after the climb began.
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WTHR) - A greasy annual tradition took place at the U.S. Naval Academy Monday.

The academy's 1,000 or so freshmen, known as the "plebe class," attempted to climb the Herndon Monument on campus as part of the yearly "Herndon Climb." The 21-foot-tall monument was covered in 50 pounds of vegetable shortening.

The freshmen try to climb it to reach the plebe hat, or "dixie cup," from the top and replace it with an upperclassman's hat. They formed a human pyramid around the monument to try to reach the top.

Finally, after two hours, nine minutes and 35 seconds, Peter Rossi from Phoenix got the "capper" on top of the monument.

To celebrate, the freshmen break out in a traditional chant, yelling "Plebes No More!" They will now be called "fourth class midshipmen" at the academy.

The tradition of climbing the monument started in 1940, with the hat placed on top in 1947 and the grease coming in 1949. The academy began timing the event in 1962.

The whole thing seems silly and, like most things college kids do, probably is, but just try to not get captivated by the drama of 1,000 of the country's future leaders climbing a greasy stone obelisk:

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