THE CABALLERO YEARS
1956-1957

Active Alumni: 1956-57
Alumni Membership Growing
Fall, 1956

The enrollment was approaching 3,000 students in the Fall of 1956 (9/29/56); the exact total was 2,814 (SHA, Oct 56, 3). The plans for Pioneer Roundup were started early; Lloyd Grubbs was this year's chairman (10/13/56). The Cabs were planning for a big Homecoming and several other activities after rush was concluded. There were 22 active members; 20 lived in the house, including five pledges.

The rush results reported in the Houstonian indicated that the Esquires took six, the Ravens eight, and the newly-formed Dons (originally called the DDI's) took eighteen. Ten men pledged Caballero: Donald Wright, Johnny Ragsdale, Gene Paramore, Cecil Neely, Jack Ewing, Byron Calfee, Roger Boyd, John Ward, Richard "Blimp" Bell, and Bill Stinson (10/20/56). These pledges were the first to receive a letter from the Caballero Alumni Association. The letter encouraged them to treat the club as a fraternity and an experience for life.

. . .Actually, if the active boys have been right in their faith in you, the club will soon be the most important activity of your collegiate career. Perhaps you may even someday come to regard the club as more than just a college social group enjoyed during the younger "hectic years," but rather as something that became a part of your personal makeup and general attitude toward life itself.

All this sounds silly right now, of course, but if the past can be used as the basis for the statistics of the future, a certain percentage of our own pledge class will eventually have the realization that the club has a personality of her own, and one that has been known to incite in her members an indescribable loyalty and spirit that rivals even the major lodges.

We don't want to see you go completely overboard on this, or to regard the club as any substitute for major lodge or belief, but we do hope that you understand that this is a fraternity, Greek letter or not, and should therefore be treated with respect at all times, and given the attention and sincere support that she needs. ("Pledge letter," October, 1956.)

The Sam Houston Bearkats were doing great this year! Just before Homecoming the Kats were one of 35 undefeated, untied, teams in the country. They were a strong favorite to take the Lone Star Championship; their strongest rival, Southwest Texas, had been beaten once in conference play. The season standings thus far put Sam Houston at the top with six wins overall and four wins in conference play. The Kats scored 142 points against opponents, while having only 34 points scored against them. If they would win the conference, it would be the first time they had ever won it alone. Last year they were in a three-way tie for first place.

The Cabs were doing well in sports, too. Football intramurals were well under way in October. The Cabs defeated Annex #1 by a shutout of 25-0 (10/27/56). They defeated the Anderson County Angels in a sudden death overtime, 18-12. "Cecil Neely and Frank Fontana scored for the victors" (11/3/56).

It was announced in early November that the Southwest School of Printing would be moved from Dallas to Sam Houston and this would increase the attractiveness of the printing school (11/3/56).

The pledges had their own song, set to the tune of Cornell's Alma Mater and written by George Rowland, and would sing it frequently at midnight in front of the girls' dorms (Recall, Nov. 1956, 3).

Black and blue our tails will be, every Monday night
Come around and you will see --- what a bloody sight!
Bravely meeting every member with a lusty grip,
All the while our only wish is to bust his upper lip.

All the phony jobs they give us, we really don't mind---
The only thing that gets our goat is hurting our behind.
Tho they treat us like a peasant, and it's all a game,
Still our tails are inflorescent, glowing like a flame.
Roger Boyd, a new pledge this semester, reflected many years later on his "Golden Days" as a Cab and as a pledge. "I say golden days," Boyd recalls, "because back then, when anyone made reference to the 'CABS,' they were talking about the number one group on campus, even then."

I have fond memories and lasting friendships formed during my pledgeship and they continue to mean a lot to me. . .Back in the 50's, pledges really had a hard road to travel. We spent a lot of time doing things that would be unheard of today. Likewise the treatment received from members wouldn't be allowed now. Still, I would not trade a moment of it. Difficult, yes. Degrading, well. . ., tiring, you bet. Educational, no doubt, but most of all, it welded us together with a bond that will last forever. Today, as we rarely see one another, the experience is an emotional one. We laugh about the long walks late at night from goodness knows where, the long underwear and feed sack garb we pledges had to wear, and that silly little red cap with the feather. We were a sight to behold! In looking back, we never did anything dangerous nor destructive. Our energy was geared toward making a lasting contribution to our fraternal order and the campus life at SHSTC. We were a strong group that worked hard, but yes, we played hard, too. The Cabs of the 50's were the sharpest guys on campus. Our trademark was our appearance. It was important to us to look good even in our jeans, western boots and hats which most of us wore daily (Letter: June, 1984).

Building on the float was well under way and plans for Homecoming were finalized. The theme this year was "The Old School With the New Look," which was appropriate because of the new buildings. At 11:00 in the morning the new Men's Gym was dedicated. 7000 ex-students and friends attended Homecoming, making it the largest in history. One of the most important of the events to occur was the official granting of a charter to the Ex-Students' Association; by-laws had been drawn up and approved and registered with the State of Texas on November 5, 1956. Sam Houston alumni dues were increased from $3.00 to $4.00 (SHA, Dec 56, 3-4).

The Caballero alumni planned a banquet at the Plaza Hotel at 7:30: "60 people are expected. . ." 58 guests attended the open house in the morning (11/17/56). There was a reserved section (Section B, Rows A, B, and C) for the Cabs at the game with Southwest Texas. The Cabs were awarded the second place float trophy for originality. Following the banquet the Alumni gathered at the club house for a business meeting at 7:00 p.m.. The Alumni planned a New Year's Eve party for the chapter and also a party at La Rivera Club in Houston in a couple of weeks to see the Mascots (11/24/56). Later that evening was a dance at the VFW Hall (SHA, Oct 56, 5).

The first business meeting of the Caballero Alumni turned out to be a pleasant surprise to the first Board of Governors. As reported in a Special edition of "The Recall" (November, 1956) the meeting lasted longer than expected and was characterized by deep concerns and "earnest question and debate." The nearly 30 alumni present (about 40% of the total alumni) voted unanimously to raise dues from $5.00 to $10.00 yearly. Although some felt the dues might be too high, especially for recent alumni (free memberships were given to alumni in the service), provisions in the Constitution allowed bi-annual payments. If alumni dropped out because of the dues increase, "the ones lost could not have been very interested in the idea [of an Alumni Association] to start with."

There was also a $100 scholarship set up to benefit an active member. The money would be provided to pay the registration fees for two semesters: registration fee was $25, student activity fee was $15, building use fee and ROTC or lab fee was $10, bringing the total to $50 each semester. A new Board of Governors was elected: Jerry Martin, President; Tom Burke, 1st Vice President; 2nd Vice-President, George Buckow; Secretary, Bob Dalehite; and Treasurer, Larry Rice.

At least 13 ideas were proposed for alumni to pursue.

  1. Investigate further national fraternities.
  2. Encourage the other male and female societies to organize alumni associations "for the Nationals demand an active and organized Alumni."
  3. Correspond with larger colleges about fraternities and Interfraternal councils.
  4. Collect club history and traditions and have a handbook printed. (See Appendix for Caballero Handbook.)
  5. Create a "perpetual file on all Caballeros."
  6. Set up a "personnel relations" committee to keep up with marriages, births, promotions, etc., and send congratulatory notes and gifts.
  7. Plan a big Pioneer Roundup celebration in April.
  8. Set up a library in the Club House.
  9. Create a Club Liaison Committee to aid the active club.
  10. Contact and recruit more alumni for membership.
  11. Publish a directory.
  12. Name a Homecoming Committee for next year.
  13. Send Houstonian to servicemen and other interested alumni.
Reflecting on the attendance and vigorous discussions, Dalehite noted: "All this points to one thing: either we are on the road to having a true fraternity in every sense of the word, or we just got carried away at Homecoming."

The Awards Banquet was emceed by Dan Rather. Ten past presidents were honored and given pin guards captioned "Part Pres." Seven Cabs receiving pins in person were Tom Perdue, Bill Johnston, Willis Gresham, Larry Rice, Hank Koym, Bob Dalehite, and Jimmy Inman. Roy Ralston, Lloyd Grubbs, and Lloyd Burr also received pins, but were absent. Mr. Walter Gintz was given a sponsor pin guard and Bill Rowland, the current Caballero President, was awarded a president pin in the shape of a gavel. Bill Johnston, President of the Alumni Board during 1955-56, was given an engraved medallion and Caballero pin "in appreciation for his fine leadership in our first year" (Recall, Nov. 1956).

The college administration proposed construction of housing for the boys' clubs. On November 9 there was a meeting of all clubs called by Bob Turner, sponsor of the Ravens. He explained that the administration had contacted him with a proposal to construct four houses with a cafeteria for use by the Caballeros, Ravens, Dons, and Esquires; the project would be financed by the state. The four groups should congregate and draw up their own plans for the houses, the only stipulation being that all four must be alike. Each house could accommodate 35 boys with a living room and snack bar. Rent would be $30 monthly for each person and the houses would be ready for occupancy by September, 1958. "The only possible setback to this plan is that if state funds are used, the clubs cannot go National while living in the houses, and there will undoubtedly have to be an agreement drawn for compelling the Clubs to retain possession for a set number of years" (Recall, Nov. 1956, 2).

As the semester was closing before Christmas several activities took place. The winners of the 1956 Press Capades were members of a singing group called "The Confederates," composed of four men, one of whom was Cody Voss (SHA, Feb 57, 5). The Cabs sponsored a raffle for a .22 silver-plated pistol which was given away on December 17 (12/8/56). Plans were made for the Moulin Rouge Dance next semester and a barbecue planned for fifty people (12/15/56). And on New Year's Eve the alumni had a party in the Sam Houston Room of the Rice Hotel on December 29 (12/15/56).

Before the close of the fall semester Bill Rowland was elected junior class favorite and named to Who's Who (1/12/57), as was Phil Womack; Lloyd Grubbs was Chairman of the Pioneer Roundup Association and Gene McMiken was Director of Screening; Charles Horton was Chairman of the Art Committee for the SUB. The Cabs defeated the FFA in basketball 56-31 and the following week beat Company B 74-46; Kenny Culbreth scored 22 points (1/19/57).


A New Constitution
Spring, 1957

The Cabs started serving meals in the house on February 4. The first week of school they sponsored a Mascots concert. There were also other acts including some Cabs, who called themselves the "Crackpots": Frank Fontana, Jerry Inman, Lloyd Grubbs, and Tommy Freeman. The officers for the spring semester were elected (2/9/57):

President: Jerry InmanHistorian: Frank Fontana
1st Vice-President: Dempsey MewbournReporter: Charles Horton
2nd Vice-President: Parke ChristenberryIFC Delegate: Frank Fontana
Treasurer: Karl DeubnerIFC Delegate: Lloyd Grubbs
Secretary: Bill RowlandIFC Delegate: Donald Wright
Corresponding Secretary: Tommy Freeman
The Moulin Rouge Dance was held on February 1. Jerry Inman presented Ginny Wilkinson with a dozen red roses for being selected Dream Girl of 1957 (Alcalde, 1957).

The IFC (now called the Interfraternal Council) had their smoker on February 5. 170 men attended (2/16/57). A new member of IFC was the Dons, a group that had organized the previous semester. The Cabs had a rush party at the VFW Hall from 8-10:30. 42 guests were entertained by the music of the Custom Cats. Eight men became Caballero pledges: Travis Boyd, Dan Womack, Jerry Woods, Cullen Wright, Roger Smith, Thomas Q. Robbins, Jack Follis, and Billy Mills. (2/23/57) After their initiation it was announced that Dan Womack was best pledge. This pledge class was the first to be given "The Caballero Handbook," written by Bob Dalehite with artwork by George Buckow. On the first page the Caballero Crest and the meaning of its symbols is given.

Caballero: a Spanish word for "gentleman."
Colors: Blue (consistency) and gold (high value).
Helmet, Shield: Spanish heritage, denoting Spanish influence in Texas.
White Plume: English origin (due to English background of charter members); white representing purity of purpose.
Spear: Spanish, aggressiveness or purpose.
Linked Chain: Fellowship.
"Crow's Feet": Ancient scrolls for higher education.

The introduction to Caballero for the prospective pledge stated the purpose of Caballero and how it differed from national fraternities and what was expected of the individual.

As a new pledge, you are probably quite unsure of your status in the organization and how it will affect your life here in Huntsville. This handbook should clear up a few misconceptions that you may have, and we hope that it will encourage you to learn the functions and purposes of the Caballero Fraternity. Many students first come to Sam Houston to escape the large campus atmosphere, and fraternity life is definitely a large portion of those conditions that seem so unfavorable. Actually, though, all colleges are benefited by a certain amount of fraternal activities, Sam Houston being no exception. The groups here are much more flexible and controlled than at Austin, Dallas, or Houston, but they should, and do, manage to salvage the worthy basic principles set down by the larger organizations. The primary difference between the two types of fraternities is, of course, the flexibility. The future success of the Caballeros is in your hands, for we operate without the predetermined goals and methods that the nationals establish. It is therefore our incentive to help you understand what has already been accomplished before entrusting the club's future to your safekeeping. At times, perhaps now, these so-called "accomplishments" of the past may not seem to have amounted to much, but may we assure you that sustaining a local fraternity at a college like Sam Houston is a task that demands the combined effort and wisdom of every member.
A new constitution was adopted (3/23/57). (See Appendix.)

The Caballero representatives on the Pioneer Roundup Association were Charles Horton and Larry Cory (3/23/57). The Loulies and the Caballeros received the first place trophy for the best covered wagon in the Pioneer Roundup parade (4/6/57) and the third place trophy for "The Wooden Nickel." Theme of this show was "Judge Roy Bean's Rock and Roll Court'" (SHA, Apr 57, 7).

The write-up in the 1957 Alcalde brought forth the successful year of the Caballeros.

Yes, we've had our kicks this year and none of us will forget the good times.

A big milestone in the club history is the "cab house." With a great deal of painting and redecorating it looks like a true frat house. None of us will forget the way "scooter" painted "B. R.'s" room.

About that time was homecoming. We may not have won first with the sports car, but we captured third. The dance was a ball.

None will forget the Christmas party at the Rice. . .What a blast! Of course, our alumni were there and they furnished the entertainment. . .They're over 21!! The party makers and goers, part of our club, the Mascots were there, too.

The fabulous Mascots played before a packed Old Main auditorium. "Yogatrod havas" snowed the crowd and "Pretty Boy Harry" wailed the blues while "Diamond Ring Lloyd" strummed the guitar.

Mr.-L??. . .Moulin Rouge, of course. . . Charles Horton's murals and the red windmill awning plus our hauncho doorman, B.R., made up a successful dance with plenty of atmosphere. "Chief," Loulies and the C.B.'s completed the entertainment for Cafe Moulin Rouge.

The Wooden Nickel brought third place this year at P.R.A., also best float in the parade and Charlene's best act. Blimp learned to shimmy like my sister Kate!

Also a few nicknames this year, too: Rags, Squirrel, Scooter, Motormouth, War Daddy, Anna P. Frankfort, B. R., Chas., Blimp, and Ruffle.

Personalities included Lloyd Grubbs, P.R.A. Chairman; Frank Fontana was IFC President; and Bill Rowland made Who's Who. The invincible "Papa" Gintz was the power behind the throne along with our much active Alumni Association.

During the summer, the Board of Regents met and approved a raise in tuition fees effective September 1, 1957. For a full-time student, the tuition was raised to $50, doubled what it had been. Fees for summer school, correspondence courses and out-of-state students were also raised (7/2/57).

1957 Alcalde Picture