Kickin' Since 1940
In 1939, Kilgore College Dean, Dr. B.E. Masters, decided that the college needed an organization that would attract young women to the college and keep people in their seats during football game halftimes. His goal of equalizing the male/female student ratio had a secondary benefit - the folks would stay in the stands during halftime instead of sipping improper beverages under them.
Dr. Masters brought Miss Gussie Nell Davis to Kilgore College to create something special. Her creation and gift to the world were the Kilgore College Rangerettes! The first group of its kind in the world, the Rangerettes brought "show business" to the football gridiron. Miss Davis' team took to the field during the 1940 football season, pioneering the field of dancing drill teams now seen across the nation. Miss Davis retired in 1979, and passed away on December 21,1993.
The first assistant director of the Rangerettes was Peggy Crowder. Miss Crowder was a Rangerette in the 1940s, and later returned to Kilgore College as Dr. Peggy Coghlan, the Vice-President of Instruction and Chief Academic Officer. The creator of the "Stomp", Dr. Coghlan retired from the college 1996.
Barbara "Pill" Harmon was the second assistant director, and resides in Texas.
Mr. Denard Haden became the first Rangerette choreographer in 1948. He created the Rangerette style by using innovative patterns and steps, and developed many original ideas that are still used by dance and drill teams today. A very creative choreographer, Mr. Haden, was also a well-known dance instructor all over East Texas. He retired in 1978 and passed away in 1983.
Mrs. Deana Bolton Covin was the third assistant director of the Rangerettes from 1972 to 1979, and she became the second director of the Rangerettes when Miss Davis retired in 1979. Mrs. Covin became very well known for her emphasis on precision, polish, and perfection. She retired in 1993, but continued to play a very active role in the Rangerette Forever Alumni organization. The Rangerette Gym was renovated in September 2001 and renamed in her honor. Mrs. Covin passed away on June 28, 2016 at the age of 94.
The second Rangerette choreographer was Mrs. Ruth Flynn. Mrs. Flynn worked with Mrs. Covin from 1980-1984. She is a former Rangerette who directed the Tyler Junior College Apache Belles from 1985 to 2011. Mrs. Flynn is retired and resides in Tyler, Texas.
Mrs Covin's first assistant director, Laura Davis, was also the third Rangerette choreographer. Mrs.Davis is a former Rangerette Lieutenant and Swingster (1975-1977), and worked as the assistant director with Ruth Flynn and Mrs. Covin for one year (1983-1984). After Mrs. Flynn left Kilgore College in 1984, Mrs.Davis took over choreography in addition to her duties as assistant director. Miss Davis currently resides in Dallas, Texas and is Co-Owner of Spirit of America.
Mrs. Covin's next assistant director and choreographer was Miss Dana Brown. Dana is a former Rangerette Lieutenant and Swingster (1981-1983) who assisted Mrs. Covin from 1986-1993. Originally from Dallas, she became the third director of the Rangerettes after Mrs. Covin retired in 1993, and then Mrs. Dana Blair in 1994. Mrs. Blair is the first director to have been a Rangerette.
The current assistant director and choreographer of the Rangerettes is Mrs. Shelley Wayne. Shelley is a former Rangerette Lieutenant and Swingster (1985-1987) originally from Houston who returned to Kilgore College after directing the Westfield High School drill team (Houston, TX) for one year. Mrs. Wayne and Mrs. Blair have worked together with the Rangerettes since 1993.
The Rangerettes are the world's best-known collegiate drill team, traveling from coast-to-coast and border-to-border in the United States and on several world tours, the highlights of which are listed below:
WORLD TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
|1972||Performed for five days in Venezuela|
|1975||Star attraction at the American Fortnight in Hong Kong, Macao, and Korea|
|1977||Toured for 15 days behind the Iron Curtain in Romania|
|1985||Performed at the Carnival Celebration in Nice, Paris, and Cannes, France|
|1992||Invited feature performers in Tokyo and Chiba City, Japan for the International Festival|
|1995||Performed at the Carnival Celebration in Nice, Paris, and Cannes, France|
|1996||Invited performers in the Fiesta Bowl Parade in Phoenix, AZ|
|1997||Part of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration in Singapore|
|1998||Invited feature performers in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade|
|2000||Honored guests at the Saint Patrick's Day Parade and Lord Mayor's Ball in Dublin, Ireland|
|2001||Traveled to Washington, D.C. as invited guests of the Texas State Society for the inauguration celebration of President George W. Bush. Performed at the Texas Black Tie and Boots Ball, and were one of the first groups down the inaugural parade route.|
|2002||Invited guests and feature performers during Indianapolis 500 race week|
|2003||Invited guests in the Field's Jingle Elf Parade in Chicago|
|2003||Invited feature performers in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade|
|2005||Traveled to Washington, D.C. as invited guests of the Texas State Society for the inauguration celebration of President George W. Bush. Performed at the Texas Black Tie and Boots Ball, and were one of the first groups down the inaugural parade route.|
|2009||Traveled to Washington, D.C. as invited guests of the Texas State Society to perform at the Texas Black Tie and Boots Ball for the inauguration celebration of President Barack Obama.|
|2011||Invited feature performers in the 70th Pearl Harbor Memorial Ceremonies|
|2015||75th Anniversary Celebration performing in Ireland and Scotland|
|2016||Invited feature performers in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade|
|2016||Invited feature performers in the 75th Pearl Harbor Memorial Ceremonies|
The Rangerettes have appeared in major football bowl games across the nation and have performed at the New Year's Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas each year since 1951. They provided the halftime entertainment for three East-West Shrine Bowl games in Palo Alto, California in the 1980s, the only organization to ever be invited for return engagements in the history of this all-star game. Cover girls on hundreds of publications including Life, Newsweek, Esquire, Texas Monthly, and Texas 24/7, the Rangerettes have also been the subject of articles in many major American magazines and newspapers. They were featured in the Cinerama movie, "Seven Wonders of the World," and have appeared on many major national television programs. As part of their 75th Anniversary, the Rangerettes were the focus of a new documentary film, "Sweethearts of the Gridiron", to be released publicly in September of 2016.