The opening lines of the Vandal fight song, Go Idaho, begin with the words, "Came a tribe from the north, brave and bold; Waving banners of silver and gold!" But most Vandal fans don't know that the University of Idaho didn't adopt the signature colors of silver and gold until the 1930s. This interesting tidbit, along with dozens of others, a treasure trove of athletic memorabilia, hats and clothing, and photographs spanning over 100 years, are currently on display in Moscow's Third Street Gallery. The collection, appropriately titled, Vandal Traditions, will be available for viewing through November 24th.
Long-time Vandal fans and university alumni will enjoy seeing their school's colorful history on display, as well as enjoy some humorous stories and photographs from the past and see how things have changed in the university's 128 year history. One display shows off a wool green beanie cap and explains that in 1911-1933 freshmen male students were required to wear their green beanies at all times during the day, unless they switched to a yellow rooter cap to cheer at athletic events. For its first few decades, the University of Idaho didn't have an official mascot and were referred to as the Idahoans, the Heckers, and even the Wreckers. The name, Vandals, stuck in 1919 after the local sports editor referred to the football team "vandalizing the opponent."
The museum exhibit has many photos and items on display that clearly show how modern-day traditions came to be. For example, University of Idaho's iconic Joe Vandal mascot has gone through some major changes in his history including being depicted as an awkward baby Viking. The athletic and energetic Spirit Squad we see at games and events today once consisted of three male Yell Leaders in sweaters and long pants. The head member was called the Yell King and his two sidekicks were the Yell Dukes.
The exhibit also shows just how far women’s athletics have come over the years. With the passing of Title IX in 1972, sports officially became more accessible to women. However, even prior to that time, the University of Idaho boasted many athletic programs for females. The Women’s Rifle Squad was organized shortly after the university opened and participated in intercollegiate competitions beginning in the 1920s.
Several contributors, including the University of Idaho Library Special Collections and Archives and Vandal Athletics have collaborated to make this exhibit truly special and sure to be appreciated by Vandal fans of all ages.♦
Third Street Gallery
206 West 3rd Street