What Curious Rivalry Between Tyler, TX and Kilgore, TX Exists During Halftime?
When you think of rivalries at East Texas Colleges, what comes to mind first?
Is it football? That’s a likely choice, but there’s another rivalry that you may not be aware of also on the campuses of our local Community and Junior Colleges in East Texas.
Each one has their own rich and unique history, and loyalty to their sisterhood. I’ll admit to being a bit biased, I graduated from Kilgore College and performed in the band on the field with the Rangerettes during the Fall of 2002.
I’ve witnessed many practices and performances on the field at R.E. Saint John Memorial Stadium. I also attended a Summer camp hosted by the Rangerettes in the Summer 1997 with a friend who aspired to one day perform on the line.
Those who know me well, know that this was a favor done on my part. I’m not a dancer by any stretch of the imagination. I was much more comfortable marching and performing music on the clarinet.
I attended many games with the band and saw the young ladies from each team perform, and while attending school campus there was a lot of rivalry talk ahead of the games with TJC and TVCC. It was fun to participate with school spirit and be a part of the performances at halftime.
Drill Teams are competitive. Drill Team history runs deep in East Texas, Gussie Nell Davis created the world’s first drill team to perform at halftime in 1939. Performing for the first time in 1940, the Rangerettes may have been the first, but they inspired others to follow soon after. Here we see an example of a Rangerette performing their classic high kicks. Rangerettes are known for kicking their own hat! See for yourself.
Trinity Valley Community College’s Cardettes came a little later. They were formed in 1960 to perform during halftime of the Henderson County Junior College football games. The current name was adopted in 1986, as the school began serving residents of surrounding counties as well. In this cute TikTok, the Cardettes have fun with Walker Haye’s smash it, “Fancy Like,” turning the viral dance into a cute pom routine.
In this TikTok, we see the Apache Belles preparing for a halftime performance over the weekend. The Tyler Junior College Apache Belles were formed a short seven years later to perform with the band at halftime of TJC football games.
Regardless of which drill team is your favorite, they are all outstanding and East Texas is fortunate to have so many talented young women attending our schools and carrying on these traditions into the future.