75 years of Rangerette history celebrated

The 75th annual Rangerette Revels will take place at 7 p.m Wednesday through Friday, and at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Rangerette’s show this year will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the award winning dance team. A select number of past Rangerettes have been selected to perform as 75th Anniversary All-Stars in a routine with current dancers in this year’s production.

The influence of the Rangerettes since their creation in 1940 is unprecedented. KC’s Rangerettes were the very first dance drill team in America. Founder Gussie Nell Davis was hired by KC Dean Dr. B. E. Masters. His mission was to create something unique that would increase female enrollment and also keep fans in their seats during half time at football games. In establishing the Rangerettes, the halftime show was also created, which has now become a tradition during football season all across the United States.

Revels began in 1948 as a talent show and fund raiser called Ranger Roundup. Davis combined all of the Rangerette’s half time routines, the KC band and twirlers to create the annual spring show. The show was moved to a local football stadium and renamed The Rangerette Revue as it grew in popularity. It was then moved to Dodson Auditorium on the KC campus and given its current name.

This year has been an eventful one for the dance team, as they have been recognized for 75 years of performing their famous high kicks and jump-splits.

On Aug 22, 2014, the Rangerette Show-Offs celebration was held. The 36 freshmen added to the team performed for the first time at the celebration, and a member in the audience from the first line in 1940 was recognized.

The Rangerettes danced in their 65th straight appearance in the Cotton Bowl Classic on New Year’s Day. They were featured performers in both the pre-game and halftime.

The Texas Cultural Trust honored the Rangerettes with the Texas Medal of Arts award on Feb. 25. It honors Texans who have made contributions to the arts locally and aroung the word. They were inducted at the Capitol in Austin along with famous Texans such as Jamie Foxx, T. Bone Burnett and Dan Rather.

In March, the Rangerettes took an 11 day tour of Scotland and Ireland, visiting famous landmarks and cities. They performed in Ireland’s national St. Patrick’s Festival Parade, which had over 700,000 attendees.

Sweethearts of the Gridiron, a documentary by filmmaker Chip Hale, was filmed over the course of a year in anticipation of the Rangerette’s 75th anniversary. It examines the dynamics and relationship between Rangerette directors Dana Blair and Shelley Wayne, returning Rangerettes, and the tryout process for hopeful dancers. It is currently on the film festival circuit, and will be screening at the USA Film Festival in Dallas on April 25.

With all they have accomplished over the past 75 years, people can only wonder what the future holds for Texas’ most famous drill team.