SADDLE TRAMPS HISTORY
The Saddle Tramps were organized in the fall of 1936 by Head Cheerleader Arch Lamb. Lamb, who later became a Lubbock County Commissioner, had been out of school for four years before entering Texas Tech in 1934. During his years at Tech, he lived in West Hall where he operated a shoeshine stand in addition to working in the Tech Creamery. Without his knowledge, the men of his residence hall nominated him for Head Cheerleader, despite the fact that he had no cheerleading experience. He was twenty-three years of age when he was elected. It was obvious that he was completely interested in Texas Tech and was the best man for the job.
Early Texas ranchers would hire a “saddle tramp” on the basis of basis of his ability and willingness to tackle any task assigned to him. He would move on after a while, having done all he could to contribute to the improvement of the ranch. That’s why Lamb named the group as he did. Saddle Tramps would be hard workers when in school at Tech, moving on after their college years were done.
Arch Lamb and his conferees, Paul “Grandma” Bowers and Bud Thompson, who were also cheerleaders, realized that the prevailing school spirit was being channeled in the wrong direction. The student body was overly exuberant, unorganized, and unruly. Private property was being destroyed during bonfires and snake dances. Lamb conceived the idea of an organization, which would lead this enthusiastic spirit into constructive channels, and took the idea to one of his agriculture instructors. Together they worked out the details.
It was decided that Saddle Tramps should be a non-political organization dedicated to the improvement and advancement of Texas Tech. Because Saddle Tramps is a non-political organization, no pin may be worn on Saddle Tramp dress except the official Saddle Tramp pin. The first men selected as Saddle Tramps were the top ones in each College of the University. Each of the three men chose others whom he thought would make the best Saddle Tramps. With Arch Lamb as president, their number grew to ten. In the spring of 1937 the membership grew to fifty. These men dedicated themselves to serving in any way that would elevate the college in the eyes of the public. The first Tramps wore dark slacks and red shirts that were dyed in the Textile Engineering Building.
The projects of the Saddle Tramps have included: rallying freshman at athletic events, supervising the planting of 20,000 trees on campus in 1938, and raising money to buy the first forty band uniforms by selling tickets to a band concert. In the fall of 1978, the Saddle Tramps, along with other student organizations, broke the world record at the time for outdoor balloon release by dispersing 151,000 balloons at the SMU football game at Jones Stadium. Saddle Tramps played a major role in obtaining the impressive fountain and seal, which is located at the Broadway Street entrance to campus. Tramps were also an influential in making a multi-million dollar dream become a reality in the construction of Tech’s Student Recreation Center. In the spring of 1990, Saddle Tramps set up the Saddle Tramp Student Endowment Scholarship Fund, and in the spring of 1991, donated money to the renovation of the Tech Dairy Barn. Although Tramps have usually emphasized Tech athletic teams, in recent years much time has been devoted to expanding activities to community service and other philanthropic events.