Homecoming is one of my favorite traditions for high school and college football. There’s nothing quite like a game where a king and queen get crowned, alumni come back to show their school spirit and the Fightin’ Cowboys win. However, homecoming at Hardin-Simmons University has not always looked the way it does now.
In late November 1950, Hardin-Simmons was in preparation to play in a “West Texas Classic” against Texas Tech’s Red Raiders on Dec. 2. They kicked off homecoming with multiple pep rallies and special student-led campus activities run by HSU’s “exes” or alumni for one last time.
One way the college ramped up school spirit was through a parade full of floats created by students. Two of my favorite floats that were featured in The HSU Brand were a papier-mâchéd version of one of the Six White Horses and a beat up car with the words “WRECKED TECH” written on its sides. Additionally, the football game’s radio broadcast was hosted by students and exes on the college’s own radio station, KHSU.
Instead of fireworks at the late-night pep rally, students in the 50s participated in a homecoming bonfire. Each year a group of boys were selected to guard the fire all night long and stop any attempts to spoil homecoming plans.
Even though it is not a tradition, Tech students added a weird element to homecoming at HSU that year. Whether they lost a bet or were just being random, two Texas Tech students shaved their head after the football game and left their hair for HSU to remember them by. They returned home with cold heads and heavy hearts since HSU beat their team 28-13. The game ball can still be seen displayed on the first floor of Sandefer Memorial.
One thing I think Hardin-Simmons should bring back is the coronation after homecoming. The queen was announced at the football game, but she received the true princess treatment with a coronation the Friday after the game.
While I would never give up my experiences at the homecoming games I have attended, I would have loved to watch a 1950s homecoming take place on campus. Our traditions have changed and evolved, but the spirit of the University has stayed the same.