The Strutters showed their hillside country pride in maroon skirts, and white cowboy hats and boots as they strutted in President Donald Trump’s inaugural parade Jan. 20.
Students took to social media to show support for the team as the Strutters marched in the District of Columbia.
Twitter user @mykaylamichelle stated “best part of this parade is seeing the Texas State Strutters on the national stage.”
Twitter user, @eviemacs said watching the performers at the inaugural parade gave her “chills.”
While vacationing in Mexico, Strutters Director Tammy Fife, received a phone call in December of 2016 confirming the drill team had been accepted to perform in the inaugural parade, according to myStatesman.
Fife began researching events and performance opportunities during inauguration week, early last year according to myStatesman.
This is not the first time the drill team has performed in inaugural parades.
The Strutters, founded in 1960, performed in Presidents John F. Kennedy’s and Lyndon B. Johnson’s, Texas State alumnus, inaugurations.
On Dec. 21, the Strutters announced they “cannot wait for this once in a lifetime performance opportunity” on their Facebook page.
During this time, online users took to social media to express their mixed feelings and backlash towards the Strutters announcement.
Soon after tweeting their announcement the drill team took down their Twitter page.
Rebecca Bell-Metereau, English professor, said she was disappointed after learning the Strutters would be performing at the Inauguration due to the university honoring diversity as one of their core values.
“I think it’s just sticking their head in the sand,” Bell-Metereau said. “I think eventually they will regret this decision and that it’s not going to bring a sense of pride or anything good to Texas State.”
Nancy Wilson, former Strutter and Texas State alumna, was a part the Strutters in 1987 and 1988.
Wilson said she learned how to conduct herself as a ‘lady” and reminisces doing kicks in the field under founder and dance team director Barbara Tidwell.
Wilson said the Strutter’s inauguration performance should be honored for their hard work.
“My whole thing on it is good for them,” Wilson said. “Those women work so hard and put in so many hours for basically just a half time show. No matter who our president is we have to get behind him because if he’s not successful then our country isn’t successful.”
Antonio Rivera, political science sophomore, said he asked himself why the Stutters would want to perform at the inauguration.
“I think it’s insulting to the different communities,” Rivera said. “Whether it be women or Latinos. I was initially confused and then I kind of thought it may be something big for the Strutters.”
Black Lives Movement San Marcos began a petition asking the Strutters to decline their invitation to perform at the inauguration.
“The Texas State Strutters have announced their excitement to perform at this year’s inauguration,” the petition stated. “And even with a social media outcry to not perform from its university community, the team has failed to decline the invitation.”
The petition received 256 signatures.
Lonvis Naulls, exercise and sports science junior and co-founder of BLMSM, said the university is focusing more on advertisement rather than upholding the values of their student body and community.
“When (the Strutters are) dancing they’re representing the university as a whole,” Naulls said. “And yes you may have had an invitation and you accepted it and didn’t know who the president was but once you realize who the president is you should think ‘I don’t want to represent the university in that way’”.
Marty Canipe Lax, former Strutter and Texas State alumna, said she was excited and had no negative thoughts after learning the Strutter’s would perform at the inauguration parade.
Canipe Lax was a Strutter in 1976 and 1978 under Tidwell, she said she learned confidence and social skills while being a Texas State Strutter.
“While this may not sit well with a lot of people,” Canipe Lax said. “You follow through the commitment that you made because you have an obligation. That’s one of the things I learned while being a Strutter.”
Canipe Lax said people should focus more on the performance rather than the politics.
“They are committed to the obligation they signed up for,” Canipe Lax said. “It’s not so much for the party as it is for the event. It’s just an unusual environment, I’m proud of them and I’m excited for them I think they should look at it as an opportunity to stand tall.”
The Strutters have also been a part of multiple NBA and NFL halftime performances.
In 2012, the Strutters performed in Macy’s Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.