LARAMIE -- Have you ever wondered the story behind the University of Wyoming’s Spirit Squad?

Who are they? Where are they from? What they do?

The UW Cheerleaders, and Wyoming mascot, Pistol Pete, have a great time supporting UW athletics and showcasing their skills at various sporting events, as well as making appearances throughout the community and all over the great state of Wyoming.

During the football season, 7220sports.com’s DJ Johnson will bring you the segment “Spirit Spotlight," highlighting some of the athletes that make it all happen.

 

Name: Ryan Tucker

Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo.

School Year: Senior

Major: Communications

Minors: Creative Writing and Gender and Women’s Studies

Spirt Squad Year: Fourth

 

7220sports: After missing -- well, at least being extremely limited in performances in 2020 -- what is the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to your feelings about being on the sidelines this upcoming Saturday at War Memorial Stadium?

Ryan: This is going to sound a little weird, but I was relieved. I was very relieved to be back and that most things were relatively back to normal for the sake of having a game and being able to be on the sidelines to cheer on the Cowboys. I was obviously also excited, but relieved is what comes to mind.

 

7220sports: Given the fact that last year was pretty much a wash, what did you personally do to stay busy and maintain your level of commitment and motivation?

Ryan: Aside from the usual school work that can keep you pretty occupied, trying to find time to go to the gym, whether it be by yourself, with a member of the team or even a roommate -- just getting to a gym to either lift weights or work on tumbling routines. Really, getting to have that human connection with members of the team was what we were looking for, while being safe in doing so. While a lot of the gyms in Laramie were closed, and we had little access to the Field House, we would often have to get creative to find places to go. We’d sometimes go to Washington Park, or try to find anywhere that had a soft spot of grass, and then we’d just go at it.

 

7220sports: The stress on a Division-I student athlete can be taxing. How do you manage your athletic responsibilities with your academic workload, especially in such a demanding program as nursing?

Ryan: I have to give the cliché answer, but it’s really about time management. The ability to set a schedule and adhering to that schedule the best that I possible can. Now, sometimes it doesn’t always work out because assignments come up, events come up, but finding a schedule that works for you -- and sticking with it -- is what works best for people. Also, always knowing when practices are, knowing what games I have to cheer, knowing that if I have a test on Monday but I’m cheering at a game on Saturday. I know I have to work my study time around that.

 

7220sports: What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of cheer?

Ryan: I like working out. I like reading and writing, just expanding my education outside of normal school. I also like hiking. Being from Colorado, I grew up in the mountains so really enjoy that.

 

7220sports: Describe your most embarrassing moment while cheering at a game -- high school or college -- and what did you learn from that experience?

Ryan: Actually, it was this past weekend at the football game. When the Cowboys score a touchdown, we run the “W” the “Y” and the “O” flags through the end zone. So, on Saturday, I’m running the “W” and our coach tells me that when I’m running through the end zone, I’ll be running behind the refs, but in front of the UW ROTC members who are doing pushups in the end zone. Then I'll return back the same way, except run behind the ROTC members. Well, on the way back I tried to go behind the ROTC members but they started walking out of the end zone, which put us all on an intersecting path and I tripped and almost fell down. Then I had to weave my way through the members. It was just really awkward and embarrassing experience.

 

7220sports: Do you have any pre-game superstitions? You know, those weird things that only you understand or do for reasons unknown to others?

Ryan: I do actually. I do this before every game and every practice: whenever we get done stretching on my wrist, I bang the ground three times. I don’t know why I do it, but I do it every single time, especially before games. I always make sure that I do it. Again, I don’t know why, but it just signifies to me that we’re ready to go.

 

7220sports: Describe the relationship between the UW spirit squad and the community. Not only here in Laramie, but around the state.

Ryan: The community is like our extended family. Wherever we go, especially when we’re in uniform, people know that you’re a cheerleader and they start shouting "Go UW," "Go Cowboys," "Go Pokes," and they just automatically recognize you. I believe a lot of people view us as ambassadors for the school. No matter where we go, whether it be Powell or Lovell or anywhere in Wyoming and you’re wearing that uniform, people recognize you and it carries a certain weight to it. It’s really exciting!

 

7220sports: If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Ryan: Martin Luther King Jr. He was a visionary, a great man, fought for change and unfortunately died for that change. Overall, I think dinner with him would be very interesting.

 

My favorite food is: Pho

My favorite restaurant in Laramie is: Mizu Sushi

My favorite thing to wear is: Shorts and Birkenstocks

My favorite music artist is: Frank Ocean

My favorite UW football player is: Logan Wilson

Beach or mountains: Mountains

Describe Laramie in five words: Quiet, small, rowdy (when it needs to be), communal, unique

One thing I can't live without is: Music

Favorite quote: “It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts.” ― Ella Fitzgerald

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