'Guns up' gesture began as reaction to UT horns

'Guns up' gesture began as reaction to UT horns
Southwest Special Collections Library
Southwest Special Collections Library
Landon Glenn Dippel
Landon Glenn Dippel

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It's a gesture that Texas Tech University students use frequently, from orientation to graduation.

"Get your guns up": a phrase that ties Red Raider fans to the Tech, but it was not always a tradition.

The university was founded in 1923, but it took until 1971 for the gun hand signal to come about.

Lynn Whitfield with the Southwest Special Collections Library said the tradition all started with an annoyed Tech alumnus.

Glenn Dippel graduated in 1961 and moved to Austin with his wife Roxie, and the irritation soon began.

"They use to see the 'Hook Em' Horns' sign everywhere," Whitfield said, "and, of course, being a Tech graduate, that wasn't what you wanted to see."

The Dippels decided to take a stance when they saw the first Raider Red mascot's signature guns, their inspiration for the gun hand gesture.

They then submitted their idea to the Saddle Tramps and Tech cheerleaders.

"The hand gesture just became a phenomenon," Whitfield said, "and it's a staple today."

Dr. Bill Dean, executive vice president of the Texas Tech Alumni Association, was at the university when the tradition began and still remembers his initial reaction.

"What does, what does this mean?" he said, "But it got very popular, and of course, the Tramps use it and the cheerleaders use it and they're in front of the whole student body, and it just slowly but surely caught on."

He now sponsors the Saddle Tramps to make sure these Tech traditions live on.

"It's a hand signal that everyone can identify with," he said, "and everybody knows what this means, and you see it all the time. So it's just going to stay, I think."

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