• Spirit Squad members

Spirit Squad

Spirit Squad & Louie the Loper

UNK Spirit Squad

The 2014 Spirit Squad

The UNK Spirit Squad is comprised of the Cheer Squad and the Sapphires Dance Team. Squad members represent students of the highest integrity and are exemplary representatives of the University of Nebraska - Kearney. Their purpose is to unify students, alumni, and fans in support of the University of Nebraska - Kearney, to serve the University as ambassadors at campus and community events, and to motivate and entertain the crowd while promoting school pride.

Please visit each individual team’s page for more information regarding spring tryouts, special appearances, and more. For additional information, or if you simply have questions, please contact Laura Matthies, Spirit Squad Advisor, at (308) 865-8523 or matthiesla@unk.edu. Also, visit each individual team’s page to access information and to register for our annual Cheer and Dance Kids Camp!

Image courtesy of Baer Photography

Meet Louie the Loper, UNK's Mascot

Louie the Loper mascot

Operated by the Office of Student Life, in partnership with the departments of Athletics and UNK Marketing, Louie is an antelope and wears a blue football jersey and blue shorts during the summer and fall, and a white basketball jersey with white shorts in the winter and spring. Although the jersey changes numbers over the years, we think Louie’s favorite jersey number is 22.

Louie attends all home athletic events, special events and activities such as Commencement, Freshman Convocation, New Student Enrollment, and Blue and Gold Welcome Week.

Louie the Loper remains one of the most popular school spirit figures in Nebraska, and is the only Loper mascot in the country. In 2011, Louie was a national finalist in the Annual Mascot Madness competition hosted by SportsTalkNY.

If you are interested in having Louie the Loper at your event, contact the Office of Student Life at 308-865-8523.

What’s a Loper?

In 1910 the student body selected the antelope as the school mascot, because “it symbolized strength, swiftness and the ability to adapt to adverse conditions.”

From the school student paper: the antelope is “the swiftest, most beautiful and most graceful animal in the Western plains. (The) Antelope appeals as a fitting emblem of a school located on the broad prairie of Nebraska, where the antelopes once roamed so freely.”

So while Loper legend is that the mascot is a North American Antelope, fact is, there are no antelopes in North America. The pronghorn, which looks much like an antelope and is commonly called an antelope, is most likely what the students in 1910 were referring to.

During the 1950s, The Kearney Hub began using a shortened version of antelopes – Lopers – to refer to the school’s athletic teams. The student paper quickly picked up “the Lopers” and the name stuck.

Did you know?

There are 91 species of antelope indigenous to regions in Africa and Eurasia.

The Antelope is the second fastest mammal in the world and can run at speeds of more than 60 miles per hour – only the Cheetah is faster.

Baby antelope are called kids.

Antelopes have horns, not antlers. Antelope do not replace their horns (not antlers) annually. Rather, they grow continuously throughout their lifetime.

According to a U.S. wildlife census conducted in 2013, there were more pronghorn in the state of Wyoming than there were people.

An antelope's eyes are larger than an elephant's and their vision is eight times better than humans. In fact, antelope can see the slightest movement from four miles away.

Cheer & Dance Kids Camp 2015

The University of Nebraska – Kearney Cheer & Dance Kids Camp is scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 7, 2015 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. in the Arena of the Health and Sports Center.

The campers will perform at halftime of the 5:30 p.m. Women's Basketball game located at the Health and Sports Center. Cost to participate is $25.00 and includes a camp t-shirt, snack, goody bag, and two parent tickets to the Loper basketball games that evening.


If you have questions, please contact Laura Matthies at (308) 865-8523.