Pep rallies and half-time events have a long tradition on the university campus; one of the earlier manifestations was the Harvard Yell Contest. In 1919, the Harvard Clubs of the University of Idaho and nearby Washington State College jointly offered a prize to the school “showing superior sportsmanship and entertainment at the WSC-Idaho game.” 1
The rivalry between the two schools had reached such a point that some inducements seemed to be in order. In both 1920 and 1921, Idaho won the yell contest in spite of losing the football games. As the yearbook pointed out:
“In no other way is the true spirit of a school expressed so unmistakably as in its rooting at any athletic contest. is the school behind the team? Are its members true sportsmen? Are they big enough to take defeat and smile? Can they win a victory without becoming arrogant? All those questions are answered by the way in which the rooters conduct themselves and are conducted by the yell leader at a game. For any school to win a prize for its rooting in a compliment to its ideals.” 2
The principal stunt in 1921 had over a thousand students troop down from the stands and create a huge interlocking UI on the field. Once in position, each student dropped confetti at their feet; leaving a taunting imprint on the WSC field.
To prepare for this event, a rally was organized a few nights earlier. School spirit was required, however; as the Argonaut reminded its readers: “Representatives of the Vigilance Committee will be on deck to give an especial invitation to all Freshman who are not present.” 3
This photograph, part of a series, was taken by the staff photographer from Hodgins’ Drug Store in Moscow, at the 1921 contest at Rogers Field in Pullman.
Written in November 1995 for the library’s Digital Memories website.
Caption: Idaho stunts at WSC, 1921. Special Collections, University of Idaho Library, Historic Photograph Collection. #2-133-8
Gem of the Mountains, 1922. Moscow, April 1921. p. 11. ↩
Argonaut, October 4, 1921. p. 1 ↩