July 17, 2008
Written by: Gretchen Pressley
The Guns Up gesture is a sign of pride and victory. It is made from a closed hand by extending the index finger forward and the thumb up resembling the shape of a gun. Photo by Artie Limmer.
It’s “handy,” lightweight, portable and always fits the occasion, no matter how casual or formal. It’s always there, at the tip of your fingers, an immediate sign of Texas Tech spirit.
Yes, the traditional sign of Red Raider pride is the famous “Guns Up” hand signal. Yet the two-digit pistol has been operating for so long that many have forgotten its origins.
According to records from the Center for Campus Life, L. Glenn Dippel, a 1961 alumnus of Texas Tech was living in Austin with his wife, Roxie. Faced with the daily, exhaustive presence of the “Hook ’em Horns” hand sign used by University of Texas fans, the Dippels decided to retaliate.
After some experimenting, the Texas Tech couple finally looked to mascot Raider Red, more specifically Raider Red’s firepower, for inspiration. In 1971, Dippel and some fellow Raider fans made decals coining the phrase “Gun ’em Down.”
Dippel then contacted the Saddle Tramps and explained the decal and his “handy” shooter idea. The Saddle Tramps and Texas Tech cheerleaders immediately adopted the Guns Up hand symbol in their upcoming spirit events.
Now, thanks to Dippel and his friends, visitors to the Texas Tech campus are accepted with a “guns up” wave through the traffic stations. Fans have something to do with their hands besides eat popcorn during the football games. And Red Raiders can now metaphorically gun down any “Hook ’em Horns” hand signs they see.
Share your favorite Guns Up shots with us at Today@ttu.edu.
Web layout by Kristina Butler.