Traditions

The Songs

Cal Poly Fight Song
Ride High You Mustangs

Ride High You Mustangs,
Kick the frost out burn the breeze,
Ride High You Mustangs,
The bow wows we'll knock to their knees

Hi Ki Yi


Ride High You Mustangs
Chin the moon and do it right
Ride High and cut a rusty


Fight! Fight! Fight!

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Etymology of phrases featured in Ride High You Mustangs:

Western Slang & Phrases

"kick the frost out" - to limber up, or warm up

"burn the breeze" - ride at full speed

"chin the moon" - rear up, as a horse

"cut a rusty" - to do one's best

 

Cal Poly Slang

 "bow-wows" - a nod to the Fresno State Bulldogs, former football rivals


Alma Mater

 
All Hail Green and Gold

All Hail Green and Gold
May your praises e'er be told
Of friendship and of courage
And stalwart sons of old
All Hail Green and Gold
In your name we shall prevail
So to California Polytechnic
Hail! Hail! Hail!

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Yea Poly

On Pacific shores, 'neath Bishop Peak
Along the serene San Luis Creek
Lies our alma mater, grand as can be!
Many a foe will stalk her ground
But we, mighty Mustangs, won't be found
But valiantly marching to victory!
Strike up the band for all to hear!
For our alma mater sing and cheer!
Ride high and she'll never fail!
Banners of green and gold will raise
And so will the echoes of her praise
For Cal Poly will prevail!
YEA POLY!

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The Golden Horseshoe

Mustangs with Golden Horseshoe

Cal Poly and UC Davis are both agricultural based universities creating many similarities. In 2003-2004 the tradition of exchanging the Golden Horseshoe began. UC Davis agreed to build a base for the trophy, while Cal Poly constructed the Golden Horseshoe.

There was a misunderstanding and both Davis and Poly made a Golden Horseshoe trophy. It was decided that the winning team of the innaugural 2004 game would choose the trophy. UC Davis won the game, chose their trophy and that trophy has been traded ever since.

Cal Poly has won the Golden Horseshoe a total of five times. With three consecutive annual wins from 2006-2008.

 

 

 

Chase: Cal Poly's Live Mascot

In 2013, Cal Poly alumnus Robin Baggett (Business ’73) and his wife, Michelle donated a gelding named Moonstar to Cal
Poly for the purpose of boosting school spirit on campus. Faculty and students in Cal Poly’s animal science program prepped the horse for his debut at the 2014 Mustang Football home opener.

The live mascot is intended to supplement, not replace, Musty, the costumed character that has served the university as a spirit symbol for years.

In 2014, Moonstar was renamed Chase after Cal Poly's only female president, Margaret Chase. The name is a metaphor to encourage the entire Cal Poly community to always pursue their dreams. Read More.

 


The Blue Green Rivalry

blue_green_logo The Blue-Green Rivalry between Central California coastal rivals Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara was established in the fall of 2012.

UCSB and Cal Poly first met on the football field in 1921 and became strong rivals years later when they were both members of the California Collegiate Athletic Association.  The Gaucho programs jumped to NCAA Division I in 1970 and the rivalry took a hiatus until the Mustangs took the Division I step in 1994, joining the Big West Conference two years later.

The rest is history.

UCSB and Cal Poly, combined, have more than 40,000 students as well as 20,000 faculty and staff.  Thousands of alums from each school still call the central and south coasts home. 

Student-athletes from UCSB and Cal Poly will decide on a Blue-Green Rivalry trophy and in the future, the rivalry is expected to have a presenting sponsor. Read more.

 

The Cal Poly "P"

The Poly P, one of the oldest hillside initials in the West, is the embodiment of Cal Poly's eventful history.

Although there are several versions of the Poly P's origins, the first mention of the hillside icon is found in a 1919 issue of The Polygram, the student newspaper. Rivalry between the California Polytechnic School and San Luis Obispo High School was always intense, but one fall morning of that year, Poly students awoke to find several large stone H (for High) letters on the hills surrounding the town. The Poly students changed each H to a P; the San Luis High students battled back. Students from the Poly concentrated their defense on the hillside P overlooking the campus, which has adorned the foothill ever since.

The hastily chosen site was ideal. The P is visible from the highway, the city, and the original Administration building (now the clock tower). Born out of rivalry, the P shone as the symbol of students' pride in their campus. Throughout the 1920s, the freshman dormitory boys, under the "delicate supervision" of the sophomores, maintained the 24-by-40-foot P, tidying up its stone outline and filling it in with a fresh layer of lime. The cleaning of the P, organized by the Dormitory Club, took place each fall before the Homecoming game. After particularly rainy winters, the P received additional care from the freshmen, usually before the Easter break. Before the 1921 Homecoming game, the Dorm boys lit a large bonfire and guarded the Poly P throughout the night from rivals.

Eventually the maintenance of the "P" was determined an athletic contest between the freshman and sophomore classes. The Freshman-Sophomore Brawl featured a tug of war, greased pole climbs, three-legged races, wheelbarrow races, and other tests of skill and endurance. As the school grew, the Rally Club, a spirit organization, inherited the maintenance and added light to the P for their rallies the day before a football game, dragging a generator up the steep slope. If Poly won the game, the lighted P was replaced with a V for victory.after the lights were out … there were rumors … that the school we were playing on Saturday was going to deface the P. While trying to wake another friend, I was met by Captain Deuel [the dorm monitor]. He shone his flash[light] in my face and wanted to know what was going on … half the dorm was AWOL. When I told him … he said, Wake your friends and get up there … but spread the word — Don't step one foot off the campus."

The original rock-and-lime configuration changed over the years, including a period when the Block P Club used white-washed barn doors to form the letter.  By 1956, the "P" was in shambles, some blamed it on the high school kids; some blamed it on the rain, but most blamed it on the freshmen. No matter who was responsible for the damage the "P", one thing was clear, it needed to be repaired.

An enlarged concrete P was finished on May 3, 1957, by Delta Sigma Phi, using supplies donated by local businesses and tractors driven by agricultural engineering majors. This 50-by-35 foot P still overlooks the campus today.

Decorating the P to spell out messages — even proposals of marriage — is a long-standing campus tradition, often reflecting the temper of the times. In 1964, the P was modified to GOP, in the 1970s POT appeared, and in the 1980s an ambitious group spelled out SPRINGSTEEN. The P is also frequently altered to the names of fraternities, sororities and campus clubs, with white bed sheets twisted into letters as the favorite temporary means of expression.