The peaceful silence of Central Campus was interrupted by the shouts of those filled with Cyclone power Wednesday evening.
The second round of Yell Like Hell was full of sororities and fraternities braving the weather to tell the stories of Iowa State Homecoming traditions with a twist, all while covered head to toe with paint.
Each skit was unique with topics including Cy, the Campanile, the Albino Squirrel, Lancelot and Elaine, President Wendy Wintersteen, Roy Reiman, Brock Purdy and Mrs. Frizzle with her class.
There were even references to the cherished song "Sweet Caroline” and the celebrated “Hilton Magic.” Each one of these performances featured advanced choreography and intricate body percussion. The stomps, claps and slaps performed in unison only increased in volume as the night progressed.
Jessica Gatewood, sophomore in architecture, was a student spectator for the event and said she made a connection between the theme of tradition and the venue of the performance.
David Hora, freshman in agronomy, is involved with the fraternity Alpha Gamma Rho. He said he fulfilled his lifelong dream of being a part of this historic tradition.
“I’m the youngest of five siblings and they all did it,” Hora said. “I saw the videos from it and I wanted to do it bad. I grew up watching it, and it was one of the staples of Homecoming for me.”
Hora said his motivations for participating are slightly different than those of his fraternity brother, Cole Eden, sophomore in agronomy and second year participant of the showcase.
“This is my second year,” Eden said. “Last year I [when] did it, we had a really fun pairing, and I wanted to try it again and serve in a leadership position, just as a second-year knowing more about it rather than just getting thrown into it. I wanted to support the younger guys too.”
There is more to this tradition than Cyclone pride and visually pleasing paint designs. Yell Like Hell unifies the greek community as a celebration of what connects them all — the brotherhood and sisterhood within greek life.
“It’s really about dedication towards something, a goal you can work with your class [and] with your brothers that integrates you together or makes you not only rely on one another, but really trust one another to get the job done, and that’s really something that brotherhood thrives on,” Hora said.
Eden also said he uses this experience to help members of his fraternity feel more like they belong, whether they are new to the greek community or four-year veterans.
“It brings us all together,” Eden said. “We have some upperclassmen and freshman participating together, so it kind of integrates both vertically across the classes, and also as a freshman class, it brings them together. Doing it three times a week, two hours at a time for practice, you spend a lot of time together.”
The time spent rehearsing these performances can be intense, with most groups practicing three or more times a week outside. All choreography and lines are memorized, so one mistimed motion can ruin the entire effect. Rather than letting the pressure get to them, many ensembles use the need for perfection as an uplifting connection rather than a force of opposition.
Kelly Mitchell, first-year member of Kappa Alpha Theta, volunteered to be a part of her chapter’s skit.
“We spend so much time together sweating and yelling for just two hours straight, so there’s definitely a lot of bonding," Mitchell said. "We’re all so united in this one goal of getting to finals and getting painted, and we feel more like brothers and sisters in this. We also share a lot of laughs.”
The desire for precision wasn’t the only contributing stressor for the event. Performers clad in undergarments were facing near-freezing temperatures and a numbing mist. Additionally, the past week’s rainy weather had turned the grassy stage into a dangerous mudslide, which was hard to maneuver with sharp movements and jumps. While trying to overcome the October transition to fall, many members of the ensembles had more to worry about than confidence in their scantily covered bodies.
“We just get used to it,” Eden said. “We’re painted. So tonight especially, we’re more worried about staying warm. It’s just the whole experience. We know that Homecoming traditions have been like this forever so it doesn’t bother me, and I don’t think it does for a lot of people.”
No matter the weather, Yell Like Hell is an Iowa State custom to celebrate Cyclone power in Ames. All of these simple customs, such as participating in mass campaniling with your sweetheart and walking around the zodiac, are little acts that bring us together as a Cyclone family full of pride in our university.
Three groups were chosen to move on to the final round of the Yell Like Hell competition: “American Cylines,” “The Cy is Falling” and “How the Grinch Stole Homecoming.”
To catch the final cuts of the 2020 “Cy’s The Limit” Yell Like Hell exhibition, attend the Homecoming Pep Rally at 7 p.m. Friday at the Iowa State Alumni Center. General admission is free and open to the public.