What is a yell leader?
Cushing Memorial Library and Archives / Texas A&M University
August 19th, 2011
11:40 AM ET
3 years ago

What is a yell leader?

(CNN) - Much has been made of Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry's college experience as a "cheerleader" during his days at Texas A&M University. Except that Perry was never a cheerleader. He was a "yell leader."

Both are spirit organizations at college sporting events, but otherwise they're quite different, and Perry's role as a yell leader during his college days may serve as an early indicator of political instinct and electoral prowess.

The Aggie Yell Leader squad is made up of group of juniors and seniors who lead the A&M crowds in trained chants at sporting events with hand motions. Unlike cheerleaders, there are no high flying flips, nor are there traditionally women on the squad. The uniforms do not even have a color, but instead are simply white shirt and white pants.

But what makes the yell leader phase of Perry's formative life relevant in the context of the presidential race is the selection process. The yell leader is the highest profile student position on the A&M campus, and they are chosen in a fiercely competitive popularity contest within a current student body of just under 50,000. To have been one of the five students selected for role, at a young age Perry had to have demonstrated an ability to mobilize voting blocs (specifically the A&M Cadet Corps) and politick.

As the official yell leader website writes, "It is not uncommon for more than twice as many students to vote for yell leader candidates than vote in the Student Body President elections."

Read more about Perry's time at A&M in TIMEhere.


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Republican Robber Baron

    Just like Reagan...use to be a Democrat before he got bought by the Big $ Special Interests.

    August 19, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. GOP hates Middle Class

    As a UT horn, I'm just laughing hysterically at this. Parry on, Ricky.

    August 19, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Yell Leader = Rabble Rouser= Perry
    Meanwhile.....is that Perry in that Dudley Doo Right outfit looking like a Canadian Mountie but eerily resembling something out of Hitler's Third Reich Youth Squad?
    Excuse my rambling but the picture scared the beejeezus out of me!

    August 19, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Joel

    Hummm, where have I seen this uniform before????

    August 19, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. Matt

    Gig em Perry!!!

    August 19, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. gt

    reminds me of animal house ...

    August 19, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. derDunkelRover

    Cheerleaders are cheerleaders, no matter what you call them.
    All this means is that you don't have to be as talented to be a "yell leader" at A&M.
    An Aggie

    August 19, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. john

    now this is some real news.

    August 19, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. GOP Hate America

    Wow Bush was a cheerleader too look where that lead this country

    August 19, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. Robert

    Oh, good! His college years didn't go to waste!!!

    August 19, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. David

    bush and perry, both was cheerleaders at colleges... interesting.

    August 19, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    This guy is really the best joke to come out of Texas since Dubbya! At least Dubbya was sincere.

    August 19, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. vic , nashville ,tn

    Who cares we won’t vote for him

    August 19, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. Shirley

    I guess Perry spent too much time practicing being a "yell leader" to pay attention to the most important aspect of college: Studying, or so says his grades. Great "Yell Leader" you Republicans have there. Not much on brains though.

    August 19, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. joe

    Don't forget George Bush was a cheerleader too, and look where that got him.

    August 19, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. Chuck

    I'm sorry, but even after reading this I don't think there is a big difference between a "yell" leader and a "cheer" leader.

    August 19, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  17. SoCal Patriot

    Why is it we already know more about Perry's college days and extracurricular activities than we have ever known about Obama's???

    August 19, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. B

    Corporations looking for a clone of idiot Bush to be another mouthpiece for them and Perry more than fits as a Corporate whore that he has always been.

    You would think that also people like the evangelical Christians would see through the whole religious hypocrisy that Bush also used on them with the help of Rove..

    Now they get another arrogant idiot doing the same thing again ,Fools, all of them.

    August 19, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. nitrous

    I wonder if he read any of those fake books behind him??

    August 19, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. M

    There is a big difference in what yell leaders do versus cheer leaders. But to know what they do you must attend Texas A&M. It is very easy for all of you to criticize something that you have no formal knowledge of.

    Comparing his uniform (which is closely related to WW2 uniforms of the Army Avaition Corps) to the Third Reich is another idiotic statement from someone who has no idea what he or she is talking about. Aggies/veterans who fought and died in WW2 wearing the same uniform should be insulted to compared to the Third Reich.

    August 19, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. GOP hates Middle Class

    SoCal Patriot

    Why is it we already know more about Perry's college days and extracurricular activities than we have ever known about Obama's???
    ----------------------------------------------
    Maybe if you took the time to read and research you'd be caught up on President Obama's college years, it's all out there just like his long form birth certificate. Those books aren't going to read themselves. PS – the days of the regressives claiming a monopoly on patriotism are long gone.

    August 19, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    "and Perry's role as a yell leader during his college days may serve as an early indicator of political instinct and electoral prowess."

    Oh my! Well, then ...

    I agree Dominica mama. It IS rather similar to the Hitler Youth garb, isn't it?

    [shudder]

    August 19, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. Randy, San Francisco

    Perry's campaign is quickly on the road to self desruction. Even Bachmann's verbal gaff's are minor comparing to the ridiculous "treasonous" and evolution v. creationism comments. Shame on the GOP/Tea Party for producing such a weak field of presidential candidates.

    August 19, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. sonny chapman

    Somewhere in The Internet Web lies a clip about A&M Yell leaders not being female like at all other colleges. It's set to the Sesame Street tune of "One of These Things, Not Like the Other Thing". Some tech savvy person needs to find it & post it. Hilarious !

    August 19, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. JD Salinger

    WOW. Another Texan and American Presidential candidate – twin brother to GW Bush!! Says it all about the intelligence of this man when you get elected as a "yell" leader and by more votes than the student body cared to give to the student leadership. Sounds about how GW got elected. God bless you all in America if this is the best you've got!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 19, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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