Spirit Squad of the 1920's - 1960's
...Do you know what comes next?
If you yelled HAY!, you're a true Aggie. This historic chant can be traced back to the 1920s when the first UC Davis Yell Leaders stood on milk cans to lead the crowds in songs and cheers at Aggie football games. These early cheerleaders inspired what is known today as the UC Davis Spirit Squad, the university's official cheerleading team.
Orson Hall '67, who was a Yell Leader during his four years at UC Davis, recalls the impact of this simple cheer: "Back then, cheers at all the schools UC Davis competed against were fairly similar," he says. "Often, the cheerleaders would steal each other's ideas. But 'Bossy Cow-Cow' set UC Davis apart. It was the favorite cheer and the one that distinguished Davis from all other schools."
From the late 1920s to the late 1970s, the Head Yell Leader was elected by the student body and served on the ASUCD Rally Committee (Today's Aggie Pack). Athletic skill was less of a consideration than it is today, and the Yell Leader often recruited friends to help him work the fans.
As the campus's population of female students grew, women became more involved in yell leading and they incorporated basic tumbling routines. "We didn't have sororities on campus at the time," says Hall, "but there were 'little sister' organizations that supported some of the fraternities and assisted with community and campus events. The cheers were led by Yell Leaders who worked with the Song Girls made up of little sisters."
Spirit Squad of the 1960's
School spirit was being affected by two different forces during the 1960's: Campus growth and increasing student activism. Some students and faculty felt that the existence of "Aggie Spirit" was threatened by campus growth. As early as 1962 there were discussions about what could be done to improve school spirit at UCD. From this, the UC Davis Spirit Squad was born. Initially separated into two teams, the Yell Leaders and the Song Girls, the goal of this group of students was to work with other spirit groups, such as Band-uh and the Rally Committee (Aggie Pack), to continue to uphold Aggie Spirit.
National politics and the increasing political and social activism also had an effect on "Aggie Spirit." Student political activism became widespread through out the UC system during the 1960's. The more notable events were the Free Speech Movement in 1964 and the Peoples' Park incident in 1969. Many students believed that the University of California was an oppressive, undemocratic institution. To support the University in any way was to support the University activities that the students were protesting against. To these students, many of whom held positions in the ASUCD and the California Aggie, the Rally Committee, Yell Leaders/Song Girls and the Band were the "rah-rah" spirit of UCD. School spirit was frowned upon and derided by these students because it was viewed as an 'unquestioning devotion to a corrupt institution.' Editorials in the California Aggie repeatedly attacked the Band, Yell Leaders, Song Girls, the Rally Committee (Aggie Pack) and UCD athletics, particularly football. Even the "Bossy Cow Cow" cheer came under fire from the editorial board of The Aggie. No institution was free from the scrutiny of the political activists. Yet, the Spirit Squad of the 1960's overcame such turmoil and continued to spread Aggie Pride.
Members of the Spirit Squad in the 1960's:
Mary S. Sprifke, Orson Hall, Joan Tribelhorn, Margaret Head, Jan Hogshead, Sue Goulard, Lorraine Welsh, Bob Muckey, Bob Sorensen, Bill Parker, Sue Davis, SharonMcCarty, Lenore Damm, Sally Robinson, Suzie Martin, Mary Ellen Maxwell, Andrea Tunnell, Vicki Brisbin, Carol Robertson, Liz Scott, John Hughes, Dave Burton, Ron Alves