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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

First Bear Down Ball in 82 years

Gordon Bates /Arizona Daily Wildcat 
Kaitlin Simpson, a communications junior, and Mike Stefferson, a physics junior, performed some swing dancing moves in the Bear Down Gym on Friday night as part of the Bear Down Ball, presented by the UA Chain Gang, a student organization. Kaitlin, a member of the Chain Gang, had part in bringing the Bear Down Ball back to UA after 87 years of dormancy.
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates /Arizona Daily Wildcat Kaitlin Simpson, a communications junior, and Mike Stefferson, a physics junior, performed some swing dancing moves in the Bear Down Gym on Friday night as part of the Bear Down Ball, presented by the UA Chain Gang, a student organization. Kaitlin, a member of the Chain Gang, had part in bringing the Bear Down Ball back to UA after 87 years of dormancy.

The first Bear Down Ball was hosted in 1927 in honor of Wildcat legend John “”Button”” Salmon, whose infamous last words were “”Bear Down.””

The Olive Street Stompers band enchanted the UA Mall with 1920s era music outside of Bear Down Gymnasium. Guests at Friday’s event entered the ball on a red carpet.

The theme for the dance, hosted by Associated Students of the University of Arizona’s Chain Gang, was “”A Blast from the Past.”” Students wore flapper dresses, gangster suits, evening gowns, tailcoats and tuxedos. Inside the gym was decorated with street lamps, balloons and other small lights. The Chain Gang provided food and drinks for their guests.

Kaitlin Simpson, a Chain Gang member and event chair said, “”The 1920s theme is based off of the time period when the first dance occurred.””

The Chain Gang Junior Honorary comprises 35 junior undergraduates. The Chain Gang’s mission of serving the UA community is accomplished by participating in philanthropic events, fundraising and volunteering their time through different community organizations.

A letter to UA alumni written by the 1927 Chain Gang said, “”Only a few hours before “”Button”” Salmon passed away, he uttered two words of encouragement to a football team of the University of Arizona that was fighting on our field. These words have since been adopted by the University of Arizona as its slogan. They are ‘Bear Down.'””

The dance held 82 years ago was an event to raise money to paint Salmon’s legendary last words on the roof of Bear Down Gym.

“”I believe the dance has room to grow,”” said Tyler Durns, a molecular and cellular biology junior. “”There’s good people and good food here. If there is another ball next year, I will come again.””

All proceeds from Friday’s dance were donated to the United Nation Children’s Fund.

Chain Gang hopes to make the Bear Down Ball an annual UA tradition.

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