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Traditions

The Songs

Cal Poly Fight Song
Ride High You Mustangs

Ride High You Mustangs,
Kick the frost out burn the breeze,
Ride High You Mustangs,
The bow wows we'll knock to their knees

Hi Ki Yi


Ride High You Mustangs
Chin the moon and do it right
Ride High and cut a rusty


Fight! Fight! Fight!


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Etymology of phrases featured in Ride High You Mustangs:

Western Slang & Phrases

"kick the frost out" - to limber up, or warm up

"burn the breeze" - ride at full speed

"chin the moon" - rear up, as a horse

"cut a rusty" - to do one's best

 

Cal Poly Slang

 "bow-wows" - a nod to the Fresno State Bulldogs, former football rivals


Alma Mater
All Hail Green and Gold

All Hail Green and Gold
May your praises e'er be told
Of friendship and of courage
And stalwart sons of old
All Hail Green and Gold
In your name we shall prevail
So to California Polytechnic
Hail! Hail! Hail!

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Yea Poly

On Pacific shores, 'neath Bishop Peak
Along the serene San Luis Creek
Lies our alma mater, grand as can be!
Many a foe will stalk her ground
But we, mighty Mustangs, won't be found
But valiantly marching to victory!
Strike up the band for all to hear!
For our alma mater sing and cheer!
Ride high and she'll never fail!
Banners of green and gold will raise
And so will the echoes of her praise
For Cal Poly will prevail!
YEA POLY!

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The Golden Horseshoe

Cal Poly and UC Davis are both agricultural based universities creating many similarities.  The Mustang Maniacs and Aggie Pack have had a friendly rivalry for years, and in 2003-04 began a tradition involving the exchange of the Golden Horseshoe.  Davis agreed to build a base for the trophy, while Cal Poly constructed the Golden Horseshoe.  There was a misunderstanding and both UC Davis and Cal Poly made a Golden Horseshoe Trophy.  It was then decided that the winning team from the innaugural game in 2004 would choose the trophy.  UC Davis won the game; therefore, the UC Davis trophy has been traded ever since.  Cal Poly has won three consecutive Golden Horseshoe games.


 Horseshoe Game Results

2004 UC Davis 36 Cal Poly 33 @ Cal Poly

2005 UC Davis 20 Cal Poly 13 @ UC Davis

 2006 Cal Poly 23 UC Davis 17 @ Cal Poly

 2007 Cal Poly 63 UC Davis 28 @ UC Davis

 2008 Cal Poly 51 UC Davis 28 @ Cal Poly

2009:  UC Davis 23 Cal Poly 10 @ UC Davis

2010:  UC Davis 22 Cal Poly 21 @ Cal Poly

2011: UC Davis 24 Cal Poly 17 @ Davis

2012: Cal Poly 28 UC Davis 20 @ Cal Poly


Keys at Kick-Off


Prior to every kick off, Mustang fans stand up and shake their keys to start things up for the Cal Poly special teamers. 

 

 

The Cal Poly Victory Bell   The Victory Bell

The Victory Bell got its start during the Cal Poly-Fresno football rivalry decades ago. The Bell is rung after every point scored at all home football games. Although Cal Poly no longer competes against Fresno in football, the tradition continues today. 

Cast in 1899, The Poly Victory spent several years in the tower of a one-room schoolhouse in the San Joaquin Valley until the university purchased it in the early 1950s.

Around 1956, the Bell became the symbol of the intense rivalry between Cal Poly and  Fresno State. It was awarded to the winner of the annual football game, and was retained by the team until the winner of the next contest was determined.

Part of the rivalry included attempts to "steal" the Bell from the current possessor prior to the schools' next meeting. Due to the over-zealous nature of some of the attempts, the Victory Bell exchange was cancelled in 1975.

In 1977, the Bell was stolen one last time from a Mustang Stadium storage unit. It was later returned wearing Fresno's colors of red and blue. Since then, the bell has retained its rightful place on the sidelines of Mustang Stadium where it rings out the scores of the Mustang Football Team.

Over the years, the responsibility for the bell has been entrusted to the University's spirit groups including Rally Club, Running Thunder, and currently, the Mustang Maniacs.

 

The Cal Poly "P"

The Poly P, one of the oldest hillside initials in the West, is the embodiment of Cal Poly's eventful history.

Although there are several versions of the Poly P's origins, the first mention of the hillside icon is found in a 1919 issue of The Polygram, the student newspaper. Rivalry between the California Polytechnic School and San Luis Obispo High School was always intense, but one fall morning of that year, Poly students awoke to find several large stone H (for High) letters on the hills surrounding the town. The Poly students changed each H to a P; the San Luis High students battled back. Students from the Poly concentrated their defense on the hillside P overlooking the campus, which has adorned the foothill ever since.

The hastily chosen site was ideal. The P is visible from the highway, the city, and the original Administration building (now the clock tower). Born out of rivalry, the P shone as the symbol of students' pride in their campus. Throughout the 1920s, the freshman dormitory boys, under the "delicate supervision" of the sophomores, maintained the 24-by-40-foot P, tidying up its stone outline and filling it in with a fresh layer of lime. The cleaning of the P, organized by the Dormitory Club, took place each fall before the Homecoming game. After particularly rainy winters, the P received additional care from the freshmen, usually before the Easter break. Before the 1921 Homecoming game, the Dorm boys lit a large bonfire and guarded the Poly P throughout the night from rivals.

Faculty also recognized the P's significance to the school, supporting the students' protective efforts. Don Fulwider '25, recalled:

"One Friday night hours after the lights were out … there were rumors … that the school we were playing on Saturday was going to deface the P. While trying to wake another friend, I was met by Captain Deuel [the dorm monitor]. He shone his flash[light] in my face and wanted to know what was going on … half the dorm was AWOL. When I told him … he said, Wake your friends and get up there … but spread the word — Don't step one foot off the campus."

Eventually the maintenance of the "P" was determined an athletic contest between the freshman and sophomore classes. The Freshman-Sophomore Brawl featured a tug of war, greased pole climbs, three-legged races, wheelbarrow races, and other tests of skill and endurance. As the school grew, the Rally Club, a spirit organization, inherited the maintenance and added light to the P for their rallies the day before a football game, dragging a generator up the steep slope. If Poly won the game, the lighted P was replaced with a V for victory.

The original rock-and-lime configuration changed over the years, including a period when the Block P Club used white-washed barn doors to form the letter.  By 1956, the "P" was in shambles, some blamed it on the high school kids; some blamed it on the rain, but most blamed it on the freshmen. No matter who was responsible for the damage the "P", one thing was clear, it needed to be repaired.

An enlarged concrete P was finished on May 3, 1957, by Delta Sigma Phi, using supplies donated by local businesses and tractors driven by agricultural engineering majors. This 50-by-35 foot P still overlooks the campus today.

Decorating the P to spell out messages — even proposals of marriage — is a long-standing campus tradition, often reflecting the temper of the times. In 1964, the P was modified to GOP, in the 1970s POT appeared, and in the 1980s an ambitious group spelled out SPRINGSTEEN. The P is also frequently altered to the names of fraternities, sororities and campus clubs, with white bed sheets twisted into letters as the favorite temporary means of expression.

For almost 13 years the "P" stood on the hill with no caretakers. Various sorority and fraternity worked the maintenance of the "P" into their pledging and rushing but that was not enough. Time and vandalism took their toll on the "P", the most notorious of which was when a student took a sledge hammer to it and broke off 6 feet.

In 1994, the Running Thunder (now Mustang Maniacs) student spirit organization assumed both the care of the P and its lighting for games. Four years later, Running Thunder and the local Sierra Club group blazed a trail to the P, which is accessible behind the residence halls. Thanks to cooperative efforts such as these, the P on the hill still stands for Poly.

 

Running Thunder Steps Up

In 1994 Running Thunder took responsibility of the "P." Derek Marin, the first "Mr. P," was Running Thunder's tireless keeper of the famed Cal Poly P. He spent thousands of hours cleaning, painting, and lighting the most notable of Cal Poly historic icons. He trekked up to the P, dragging a gas powered generator, donated by Sandi's Liquor and Deli, during every home football game to light it up for all of San Luis Obispo to see. His vast efforts have helped keep this most important of Cal Poly landmarks in stable and awe-inspiring condition.

In recent years, the "P" has begun a downward slide due to the slope of the hill and is suffering from some stress fractures from the movement. The "P" has been accepted to the National Register of Historic Places and as such enjoys legal protection from demolition, but at some point major efforts will be needed to stabilize this legacy.

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Sophomore second baseman Mark Mathias, who went 7-for-14 in the San Luis Obispo Regional last weekend at Baggett... [ Read More ]