Loud, Painted, and Proud

Hickman's spirit club hopes to bring back energy to the student section.

October 5, 2017

On fall Friday nights, in the center of Columbia, a low hum can be heard in the area that surrounds Robert M. LeMone Field. Chants, barbeque smoke, and music fill the air. It is football Friday and the Festivities of Hickman High School are in full swing.

The Dawg Pound Order, better known as the DPO, has long been an iconic aspect of the Hickman community. For generations the student section has set the tone of the crowd at every home football and basketball game, bringing an atmosphere of excitement and energy to the games. Year after year the group has a consistent high level of energy and Kewpie pride.  

This year, Will Studer has joined a long succession of DPO leaders who lead the student section and ensure that the whole school has a Friday night fever that burns of Kewpie pride. The passing of the command from one graduating class to another, contrary to popular belief, is not one based on appointment but rather one based on gumption and ambition.

“It’s not one of those things you “earn” you just step up and lead,” said Studer.

Studer became the DPO leader this year and was more than ecstatic to hold such a high Hickman honor.

“I’ve kinda always wanted to lead the student section, I always liked looking forward to the seniors leading us in cheer and getting us hype, that atmosphere is amazing,” Studer said.

After taking hold of the hammer this year, Studer set it as one of his goals to make sure that the class of 2018 leaves behind a legacy of the DPO that resonates.

“I just want the senior class as a whole to be remembered as wild and fun, I want us to have an impact on the school,” said Studer. “One of my favorite things to do is lean back on the fence and see how big the student section is, something about how many people show up is rewarding almost.”

The buzz of Friday Night lights at Hickman is the epitome of Americana bliss. The atmosphere that the DPO has established this year is one of freshly painted chests, grilled hot dogs, boisterous chants, and full faith that “we will win.”

“I think it brings a upbeat and live vibe to all the games, and the Hickman teams can always look up and know they have a crowd cheering them on no matter what,” said senior DPO member Grant Paten. “It also brings Kewpie pride to all the teachers and alumni to let them know we are all involved.”

The crowd involvement is vital to the game. The student section may be the heart of the grandstands, but that does not mean that the other fans do not add to the energy.

“As we raise school spirits in these ways, the Hickman Community automatically becomes more involved and passionate,” said DPO senior Gavin Buxman.  

Hickman’s expansive alumni network has ensured that the traditions of the past, such as the “Strawberry Shortcake” chant, have stood the test of time. Hickman has always prided itself on its value for long-standing tradition. It stands as one of our school’s foundational tenets on which we have formed our culture. This year’s DPO hopes to add another tradition.

“I would say my favorite part about being in the DPO is when we do push-ups after each Kewpie score. I really hope it becomes a tradition,” senior Andrew Devine said.

The class of 2018 will not be here forever and soon the legacy of the DPO will be passed down to the next generation of loud, painted, hecklers.

“We are reaching out to the younger classmen. Eventually they will be leading chants because they are the future of Hickman,” said Paten.

The Dawg Pound Order is more than a group of teenagers. It is a tradition. A testament to the proudful nature of our Hickman community that has last for generations and will continue on for many more.

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