Ram pride: Looking back at the years of cheer

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Collegian | Collegian file photo

Ivy Secrest, Life and Culture Director

Homecoming weekend means tailgates, school pride and football. While the scoreboard will change and the fans will evolve, one constant support remains enthusiastically on the field: cheer and dance squads.

While you may think of the history of cheer as some sort of long-winded popularity contest, there’s much more to those who put the “pep” in pep rally. They keep us engaged and entertained while having a whole athletic world of their own to adhere to.

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Their names have changed, and their outfits and routines have evolved, but their presence on the field is essential to maintaining the energy of the game. Cheer is a sport in its own right, and while their cheer and athleticism are impressive, cheerleaders have also remained fashion icons for decades.

Collegian file photo

1970s

The free spirit and grooviness of the 1970s were reflected in the cheer style of the time. Form-fitting outfits replaced the sweaters and long skirts of the ’50s and ’60s. Bright colors, stripes and popular crops swooped in to declare the new era of Ram pride. A great decade of change emerged, and many of the classic cheer traditions were set to evolve with the rest of the world.

Collegian file photo

1980s

While the look changed in the ’70s, the ’80s were when athleticism really took off. The outfits remained fashionable and form-fitting, and sneakers entered the scene to ensure the new routines — competitive with those of gymnasts — could be achieved. Gone were the days of simple cheers from bubbly sideline participants, and in was the age of gymnastic-level prowess on the field.

Collegian file photo

1990s

As competitions developed into popularity throughout the ’90s, cheer uniforms became more diverse, with teams having multiple outfits to reflect different routines and up their performances. This is when spirit squads became a sport in their own right, holding claim to several established competitive events that no longer restricted them to the sidelines.

Collegian file photo

2000s

While the general appearance may not have changed, spandex and more athletic materials entered the cheer sphere in the 2000s. This was done to make it easier for athletes to jump, flip, kick and tumble their way to the top. Cheer movies grew in popularity, and the Rams continued with their peers in developing the competitive, athletic side of cheer.

A member of the Colorado State University Golden Poms looks off towards the crowd.
A member of the Colorado State University’s Golden Poms waits to cheer while the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff’s starting lineup is announced Nov. 12, 2021. (Collegian | Lucy Morantz)

Now

Cheerleading uniforms jump back and forth now, sometimes challenging the norm, other times paying respect to the styles that preceded their squad. While cheerleaders have gained their own athletic status, their role on the sidelines never wavered; it simply grew. Supporting their fellow athletes, spirit squad members at CSU have built up Ram pride for decades, from routine to uniform.

The history of cheer is intertwined with CSU’s history. Their presence is a reflection of the styles in which we wish to be perceived and the pride that emanates throughout Fort Collins: Ram pride.

Going into this weekend’s events, take time to appreciate the vast depth of history around you. From chanting in long skirts and sweaters to tumbling in sneakers and spandex mini skirts, cheer at CSU has remained a support to the community while also developing something worth taking great pride in.

Reach Ivy Secrest at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @IvySecrest.