The University of Iowa Spirit Squads consists of the Iowa Cheerleaders, the Iowa Dance Team and the Herky the Hawk. The program is at the forefront of the University of Iowa , providing `Black and Gold' not only at a myriad of intercollegiate athletics and UI campus community events staged annually at the University of Iowa, but throughout the state and nationally. The Iowa Spirit Squads are under the supervision of the University of Iowa Athletics Department.
The Iowa Spirit Squads provide leadership and entertainment for the 70,000 fans who routinely fill historic Kinnick Stadium to capacity for the home games of the nationally ranked UI football team and crowds of up to 15,500 who cheer Iowa's men's and women's basketball, wrestling and volleyball teams in events staged inside award-winning Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The University of Iowa is a member of the Big Ten Conference and the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) and as such competes for conference and national championships in 24 varsity sports.
The females and males that make up the Iowa Spirit Squads are full-time ambassadors for the University of Iowa. Not only do they perform at athletics events at the UI, but they also participate in public outreach events throughout the year, attend UCA/UDA camp in the summer, travel to post-season bowl games and men's and women's basketball tournaments, and compete nationally at UCA/UDA competitions.
And they do all of this while being full-time undergraduate students at the University of Iowa, one of the nation's premiere public research institutions.
Herky the Hawk has been the symbol of the University of Iowa and its intercollegiate athletics teams for more than 60 years. The Hawkeye nickname came to life in 1948 when a cartoon character, later to be named Herky the Hawk, was hatched. The creator was Richard Spencer III, an instructor of journalism at the UI. The impish hawk was an immediate hit and he acquired his name through a statewide contest staged by the UI Athletics Department. John Franklin, a Belle Plaine alumnus, was the man who suggested Herky.
Since his birth 60 years ago, Herky has symbolized intercollegiate athletics at the UI and epitomized University life in Iowa City. He even donned a military uniform during the Korean War and became the insignia of the 124th Fighting Squadron.
During the mid-1950s, Herky came to life at a football game as the Iowa mascot with a black leather head and gold felt feathers. Herky represents not only the University of Iowa, but also the entire state of Iowa...hence the state's nickname, the Hawkeye State. Herky can be seen at all home and away football games, home basketball games, home volleyball games, home wrestling meets and many other home athletics events. Herky travels when the team goes to bowl games and post season basketball tournaments and the annual wrestling national championship. He can be seen at events throughout Iowa during the year, including the Iowa State Fair, parades, grand openings, charity events, weddings and various other events.
Members of Herky Security provide protection for Herky at all events ranging from Iowa football games to wrestling meets to birthday parties and weddings. These individuals work tirelessly day after day to make sure the beloved Herky does not come into harm's way. Look for these individuals wherever you might find Herky.
The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics hatched Perky as their mascot. She is Herky's cousin and came to life in 2002. Perky makes monthly visits to the UI Children's Hospital pediatrics floors, as well as special appearances from time to time. Herky mascots help bring Perky to the UI Children's Hospital and all Perky events.
Tryouts for Herky Security
Current University of Iowa students -- Clinics will be hosted in the spring to answer questions and provide preparation for tryouts. Look for information each year in the Daily Iowan, on CamBus and on your floors in the dormitories beginning early in the spring semester. Tryouts will consist of a number of evenings between January and April running through sport skills, improvisation, interviews and mascoting basics. The final area of the tryout will be a skit to best show Herky's ability to lead the crowd and get Hawkeye fans everywhere excited about the University of Iowa. All current University of Iowa students must have the following in order tryout:
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