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Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
Matt Crocker relaxes on TRAX Saturday while participating in a worldwide event called Improv Everywhere No Pants Day, the second in Salt Lake City.

A group of people took their pants off while riding TRAX Saturday afternoon as part of a group's mission to "cause scenes of chaos and joy in public places."

About 25 people gathered at the EnergySolutions Arena TRAX station to kick off the Improv Everywhere No Pants 2009 event. From there, riders boarded the southbound train and, one-by-one, at arbitrary points, took their pants off and continued to ride in their underwear. The revelers got on and off the train at various points

around the downtown area with new people joining the activities along the way.

"I think it's fun," said Zach Cipriano of Ogden. "I love doing stuff like this."

Many of the revelers had to wait pantless at TRAX stations for up to 15 minutes with temperatures hovering around 34 degrees.

"It's a bit chilled, but it's not as bad as I expected," said Courtney Dallon.

Puzzled onlookers who asked participants their reasons for wearing no pants received responses such as "global warming" and "I must have forgotten them."

"I think it's stupid, it's cold outside," said Karen Blake of St. George. "I would die if my daughter did this."

Rick and Linda Black, who were riding the train with their 8-year-old daughter and her friend, had differing opinions. Rick Black said it was not a big deal because "people walk around in their bathing suits all the time." Linda Black, on the other hand, said, "I would prefer if they had pants on, considering the kids."

The event was organized locally by Ashley Merrill, who spread the word primarily through the social networking Internet site Facebook. It was the second year for the event in Salt Lake City.

Before the event, Merrill gave participants a list of guidelines to follow.

"Be respectful of other people," Merrill said. "We want to make them laugh, not offend them."

Merrill, who also organized last year's event, checked local laws and Utah Transit Authority guidelines beforehand to make sure things would go smoothly. Participants were instructed to abide by any requests to put their pants back on if the request came from UTA officials or law enforcement.

According to global organizers of Improv Everywhere, people in at least 24 cities around the world rode pantless on mass transit systems from Canada to Australia on the same day. The annual event started in New York eight years ago and has grown since then.

In addition to causing a global phenomenon with its No Pants events, the New York-based Improv Everywhere has also inspired upstart groups in other cities to execute pranks — without causing humiliation or embarrassment.

"We are starting a group here called ImprovSLC," Merrill said. "It will be a takeoff of Improv Everywhere."

Merrill said she is excited about spreading the group's philosophy of "causing random scenes of chaos and joy" around the Salt Lake Valley.

E-mail: kkuhn@desnews.com