THE MAN BEHIND THE FREMONT CANNON

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Casey Sierra sitting next to the Fremont Cannon. Photo by AJ Reed.

On Oct. 14, UNLV and UNR will face off for the 49th time. The hardware on the line is none other than the Fremont Cannon itself. 

The cannon currently resides in the Frettita Complex on UNLV’s campus and wears the colors of scarlet and gray. Each winner paints the cannon in its school’s colors, and while this is an important task, it often goes unnoticed by the students.

For the past 8 years, Casey Sierra, the paint shop supervisor at UNLV, has worked on painting the colors around the campus, and for the most recent Fremont Cannon win, he took charge as the lead painter.

“It’s probably the proudest thing we do here,” Sierra said. “Something about painting that I like and our crew likes is that it brings new life to the campus.” 

It would be hard to find a more important trophy to the students at UNLV than the Fremont Cannon, which is why this is such a prideful task for Sierra. 

“It’s a long process; first they bring the cannon to the student union and the students paint it,” Sierra said, “So we gotta sand all that paint off so there’s a lot of work that goes into it before we can even begin painting.” 

The Fremont Cannon, a replica of the howitzer used by John C. Fremont himself, weighs close to 300 pounds. The Cannon must be taken apart piece by piece to ensure the paint is applied properly.

“The barrel is pure brass, and I spent about 15 hours just polishing that part of it.” Sierra said. 

UNLV will look to defend the cannon this Saturday, and if the Rebels come out on top a full repaint of the cannon will not be necessary. “We use a water-based paint to touch it up and clean it up a bit.” Sierra explained. “I’m very thankful to be a part of such an important process in UNLV history.” 

The Rebels defeated the Wolf Pack 45-27 in the 2023 edition of the Silver State Series on Oct. 14. With the UNLV Football victory Sierra receives the duty to splash the Fremont Cannon with the colors of scarlet and gray.

Sierra went on to say “I enjoy the whole process but my favorite part is seeing the barrel shine with the UNLV colors around it.”

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