Carrying on the tradition

Second-generation Bison Belles follow in the footsteps of their moms


menefee photo

Second-generation Belles Ally Smith and Skylar Jackson dance during halftime of the Buffalo/Trinity game last Friday.

Some groups come and go, or at least change over the years, but the Bison Belles have been around for decades and are still churning out awards and crowd-pleasing dances at every halftime show. Every spring, Belle-hopefuls line up and learn a dance and practice it for hours in the hopes of earning a tryout score that will win them a coveted spot on the team. For some, it is a family tradition that started when their own moms were Bison Belles.

Sophomore Chelsea Harter is one of those second-generation Belles, and she has the additional pressure of being the daughter of the director, Amanda Harter. Mrs. Harter was once a Belle herself, and Chelsea is carrying on the tradition.

“It adds a lot of pressure, since my mom was a Belle herself, Chelsea said. “I mean, I feel like everyone else does, but I think she has higher expectations for me, that’s all.”

Despite the pressure, Chelsea is proud to follow in her mom’s footsteps.

“It’s an honor to carry on the tradition for my family,” Chelsea said.

Junior Skyler Jackson another second-generation Belles. For Jackson, knowing that her mother had good memories of the team inspired her to try out in the first place.

“My mother was a Belle, and she said it was a lot of fun, so I thought I would try it to see if I liked it just as much as she did,” Jackson said “I ended up really loving it.”

Director Amanda Harter, who loves the tradition the Belles bring to the school community, says things have not really changed much since she was a Belle.

“We are a traditional drill team with the same field entrance and pre-game system we have had for decades,” Mrs. Harter said. “We do, however, compete in more spring dance contests then we did 20 years ago. I feel like each year we challenge girls to learn more technique because of our participation in dance competitions.”

The traditions may be the same, but the uniforms have changed over the years.

“The first uniforms were made by the Belle Mothers’ Club out of a blue denim material with added fringe,” Mrs. Harter said. “Our uniforms have changed a little several times over the last 58 years, but we have always had a traditional skirt, boots fringe and white hat. Betty Reeder, the very first captain of the Bison Belles in 1958, commented that the uniforms that we have right now are the best looking uniforms the Belles have ever had…and I agree.”

While heading up a group that performs and competes multiple times over the year is a stressful job, Harter said she loves the challenges that come with being director.

“I am amazed daily that these young ladies can remember all of the routines, “ Amanda Harter said. “Currently the 58th line has 11 routines that they have learned, and each week we clean and polish the routines that we need that week. They make it look easy when it’s not.”