By Cassidy Pate, News Editor
Students, faculty and staff of the Belton community flocked to Tiger Gym on Friday morning to kickstart the homecoming festivities at the Belton High School pep rally.
In true tiger tradition, the pep rally began with the walk of the varsity football team through a lane of cheerleaders with the Belton Marching 100 playing from the visitor’s stands.
“Welcome, and thanks for coming to your 2019 homecoming pep rally,” Senior M.C. Amaris Reed said.
Following this introduction, the Belton Magic Belles performed their football inspired kick routine, which they perform annually at the homecoming pep rally. Sporting football jerseys and polished white boots, the team’s kicks were high, and the support from the crowd was extraordinary.
The junior varsity and varsity cheerleaders then exhibited their talent with a portion of the routine they will be using at the National Cheerleaders Association High School National Championship, of which they took first place in the spring of 2019. Showcasing advanced stunts, tumbling and a fast-paced routine gleaming with Belton flare, the future looks good for the Belton High School cheerleaders.
As the cheerleaders led the crowd in a “Think Pink, Go Red” chant to commemorate October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Reed assisted them by calling on each grade level to get loud when she pointed to their section of the bleachers.
“Let’s get loud and yell with our Belton cheerleaders,” Reed said. “Stand up, get loud!”
The 2019 homecoming court and duchesses were then announced by grade level. One girl from each grade was named the “duchess” for her class, three senior girls were nominated for Homecoming Queen, and three senior boys were nominated for Homecoming King.
It was time for Tigo (Belton’s mascot) to shine in a skit assisted by the varsity cheerleaders. Tigo and Kaden O’Brien, a member of the varsity cheer squad, faced one another in an arm-wrestling battle.
Foreshadowing the outcome of Friday night’s football game, O’Brien, sporting a green t-shirt to represent Belton’s opponent: the Ellison High School Eagles, lost to Tigo as the “Rocky” theme song played.
Logan Smith and Jonah Jimenez, members of the varsity football team, shook out their long hair before stepping forward to hype up the crowd for the game.
“Alright guys, so this is our seniors’ last homecoming…seniors, let’s make this a memorable last homecoming,” Smith said.
Smith then handed the microphone to Jimenez.
“Belton pride is tonight, so come out and be loud and help us get a win,” Jimenez said.
Freshman Football Coach Bobby Fowler graduated from BHS 40 years ago and served as the motivational speaker.
“Couple things I wanna get out – fact one: tiger is the largest of all the big cats, bigger than a leopard, panther, lion,” Fowler said. “Fact two: its stripes conceal itself, ya know, while it’s stalking its prey while we take down those eagles tonight, and then number three: it can consume up to 88 pounds; I hear it’s eagle season, guys.”
The crowd reacted well to his speech and joined Fowler as he led the “Big Red, Nuf Sed” chant.
Two varsity volleyball players, Chloe Aparicio and Tori Maldonado, came forward to announce their home game against Midway High School.
“Tonight, your Lady Tiger Volleyball Team is taking on Midway – biggest game of the season – it’s at 5:30, so I know every single one of y’all can be there before the football game, so come out and be loud,” Aparicio said.
Four representatives from each class then participated in a minute to win it, “Nose Dive,” game, followed by a few more chants guided by the cheerleaders.
The Magic Belles performed a second routine to Neil Diamond’s “I’m a Believer” played by the Belton Marching 100 before O’Brien stepped back to the spotlight in a surprise costume: Joe Baisden’s red overalls. Baisden was a respected member of the Belton community, so it was a pleasure for O’Brien to pay homage to him in this way.
“These overalls are the true tiger spirit, so that’s why I’m wearing them today, and I’m proud to be wearing these overalls for him,” O’Brien said. “So, Joe Baisden in 1996 was the first time he was asked to speak at one of these pep rallies, so he came and spoke at the pep rallies, and he did it for 20 years.”
Following this special moment, O’Brien took it one step further by leading the crowd in the chant Baisden was known for: “Go Red, Go White, Go Tigers, Fight Fight!”
The pep rally concluded with the linking of pinkies and swaying to the music of none other than Belton’s school song performed by the Marching 100, followed by the lighthearted fight song.