Trinity might not have six-figure crowds attending sporting events, but the University’s enthusiasm still brims at capacity thanks to its many and diverse spirit squads.
Over the years, these pep organizations have included stand band, cheerleading, pep squads, the Tigerettes baton twirlers, and the Prowlers dance squad.
Cheerleaders are an energetic mainstay at Trinity sporting events. But their origins can be traced all the way back to the early 20th century. That’s where Trinity’s concept of “pep” first originated, on the Waxahachie campus. Here, male and female pep leaders began organizing rallies to support Trinity teams and maintain school spirit. In the early years of the century, brief pep rallies were held outdoors after morning chapel. In 1916, students instituted evening rallies conducted in the college auditorium.
Local newspapers reported that "Yells and songs will be practiced, pep speeches made, and everything conducive to stirring up enthusiasm will be done." At one pep rally held to honor the departing football team, a local newspaper described 300 "lusty voices" that sang "Trinity Will Shine Tonight" followed by yells that "seemed for a time would literally lift the roof off the building." Students then boarded special streetcars that took them to the railroad station, where songs and cheers resounded for the football team as it left for an away game.
Despite declining interest in the 1930s, Trinity cheerleaders continued the tradition of rallies and parades to encourage school spirit. During a pep rally in 1937, students formed a parade at the University and marched through the streets to the town square where they sang rousing fight songs, culminating with the alma mater.
Separate from the cheerleading team, the pep squad reorganized in 1937, including only 15 first-and second-year students, and the following year changed its name to the Lancerettes, becoming a fixture at Trinity sporting events for many years.
In the late 1940s, the Tigerettes, Trinity’s precision twirling and dance team, made their foray into the world of school spirit. According to Trinitonian archives, the group was meant to “stimulate school spirit, to support school athletic activities, and to act as a service and social organization which contributes to the personality development of its members.”
In the 1950s, the talented group attracted the attention of the press thanks to the coaching of acclaimed dance coach Pat Booker, who had established the famed Mississippi Southern “Dixie Darlings.” The group was headlined by Kathryn (Seiler) Bramble ’60, who starred along with her 10 teammates during this period, and also managed by Ronald Lee Bramble ’59, who ended up marrying Kathryn, his sweetheart, just after her graduation in 1960.
While dance and cheer gained early success, the stellar Trinity Band had also began integrating performances into sporting events as early as the 1930s,. Separate from the University’s other performance ensembles, the Spirit Band—an early precursor of the ‘Stand Band’—began as a mandatory task for underclassmen musicians, but faded away as students expressed more interest in ensembles such as the Swing Band or orchestra.
Student musicians sporadically and voluntarily organized their own small-scale performances at sporting events, but it was not until 2009 that the athletic department organized an official musical presence at games, known as the Stand Band. In true Trinity fashion, this squad has done things a bit differently than other, larger colleges, which typically only devote resources to performances at football and basketball games: the Stand Band regularly performs outside of the major sports, even making appearances at events such as the Rock’N’Roll Marathon.