Unfortunately, these two Cal Poly fight songs do not circulate more parts of student life.
Crop science junior Gabby Chrisco said she does not know what the Cal Poly fight songs are.
“It’s been three years (of being a Cal Poly student) and I have no recollection of it,” Chrisco said.
Kinesiology junior Katie Marchant said she definitely knows the beats, but not every word.
“The songs make me feel like I’m part of a community, but not enough people know them,” Marchant said.
When asked if it was known when the fight songs are played, Chrisco said, “at games.”
More specifically, “Ride High, You Mustangs” and “Yea Poly” are played at basketball and volleyball games, but are mostly associated with football games.
When Cal Poly scores a touchdown, the marching band plays “Ride High, You Mustangs,” accompanying the excitement and celebration of the crowd. The song is also played at the end of a game, whether Cal Poly wins or not, to exude school spirit and positivity for athletes.
According to Associate Director of Bands Christopher Woodruff, “Ride High, You Mustangs” is more recognizable than “Yea Poly” is, as the latter is played when an extra point is scored.
Harold P. Davidson, head of Cal Poly’s music department from 1936-56, started the Mustang Marching Band and wrote both of the fight songs.
“There is a common confusion as to where all of the words come from,” Woodruff said. “The old phrases are associated with being out west. The line ‘Chin the moon and do it right,’ in “Ride High, You Mustangs,” is reminiscent of running across an open plain as if you’re a Mustang.”
With the words of the fight songs holding history and value, despite suggestions from the student body to modernize the songs, Woodruff said it is not possible to rewrite any parts of them. Woodruff explained it is not just the concerns of the current student body that need to be taken into consideration to alter the songs.
Since 1936, when the songs were composed, alumni have been coming back to Cal Poly for homecoming, expecting to hear these same songs.
“Every college band across the country has a tradition from the start of their band and there is no way of changing (ours),” Woodruff said.
If Cal Poly were to rewrite these songs, it would break contact with the older generations. Homecoming is about bringing back and uniting the Cal Poly family.
To continue the tradition of Cal Poly’s fight songs, Woodruff explained the measures taken to orientate students with them. During freshmen Week of Welcome, Univesity Housing and athletics team up to host a big sports rally. During the rally, the band plays on the field while the words of the songs are displayed on a video board.
For all students, the songs are accessible on Cal Poly’s athletic and band websites. When asked where else Cal Poly could incorporate these fight songs into student life, Marchant suggested printing the words on Cal Poly clothing.
With regards to Woodruff’s remarks about the value of Cal Poly’s fight songs, the two are here to stay.