The Golden Girl History
Before every home football game, the Golden Girls will stand in a circle, holding their pom poms in the center, and have a private moment to themselves. “GG’s for life,” they’ll shout as they raise their pom poms to the sky, ending the moment and heading onto the field for the pregame show.
“I think it’s pretty monumental because every Golden Girl prior is so important to the whole team and the atmosphere of being a Golden Girl,” Maddie Putnam
The Golden Girls were started by Charles Emmons, director of bands, in 1957 when he brought together a twirling line featuring two twirlers and six to eight majorettes. He created the team as a part of Marching Mizzou.
In 1965, the Girls first debuted their gold sequined leotards. The following year, Dr. Alex Pickard took over as director of bands and the Golden Girls made their first transition towards the dance team it is now.
Maddie Putnam and her teammates wait in the parking lot of the Hearnes Center for the pregame parade to the stadium to start before the football game against Vanderbilt.
Dr. Pickard wanted to see the team be more active during games. He had them put down their batons and the first dance they performed was the charleston. In the years to come, the Girls would continue to incorporate more dancing into their routines.
In 1968, the first Golden Girls coach, Patty Kespohl, was hired for the fall semester. Kespohl moved the Girls completely away from the batons in her first two years and, in 1971, debuted the Girls in their, now, iconic white boots.
Raising A Golden Girl
Putnam started dancing when she was three or four years old. It was not always a priority for her as she also played other sports including softball, soccer and basketball.
Around the age of eight, Putnam moved to the Priscilla and Dana's School of Dance in Kansas City, Missouri, a prestigious dancing studio. She decided that dance was her passion and decided to focus her time on that. She started practicing four to five days a week and began dancing competitively. She continued this throughout high school.
Putnam grew up in a MU loving family, with both sides of her family having attended the university. Often her and her family would come to Columbia for games when she was a little girl. Coming to games soon became even more exciting when her mom told her about the Golden Girls that were on the sidelines of each game.
The Golden Girls kick line during the Missouri Waltz performed at the end of the third quarter of each home football game.
“I remember when I was little, my mom, before my first game, she told me ‘you’re going to love the Golden Girl dancers.’ And I just couldn’t wait to see them,” Putnam said. “And then ever since then I almost wanted to go to the games to watch them instead of the actual games.”
Balancing school and the team
Maddie Putnam works on her online class in the MU student center in between classes. She decided to take an online class to provide herself more time during the day.
The time commitment that is required of a Golden Girl does not always allow the Girls time for certain programs; mainly ones that require residencies. Putnam’s desire is to become a pediatric nurse after school.
Putnam understands the time commitment demands and chose to major in health sciences during her time at MU. This allows her the time to be a Golden Girl while pursuing her education in nursing. She plans on going to the University of Missouri-Kansas City to join their accelerated nursing program once she has finished her four years with the Golden Girls and has graduated from MU.
Putnam is taking 13 credit hours this semester, including an online class. Having a lightened course load allows Putnam to get her credit hours that she needs to graduate as well as have the time required by the team. Her online class alleviates even more of those time requirements, giving her more time for both school work and team work.
Maddie walks across campus after class to meet with her academic advisor and plan her spring semester class schedule.