Sports booster club makes it a ‘ruff’ ride for opponents

The Ruff Riders booster club, which has 1,300 members, is a vocal presence at SCU sporting events.

They scream, they dance, they cheer. Decked out in long-sleeved T-shirts, the Ruff Riders stand out as SCU’s top booster club and opponent agitator.

With neon signs boasting “It’s Getting Hot in Here!” and their famous couch on the gym floor, the largest student club on campus can be quite a presence at a Leavey Center basketball game. Waving their arms in the air, they wiggle their fingers when SCU makes a free throw and chant when a Bronco scores.

“Ruff Riders provide a loud, vocal student section,” says Lindsay Amstutz, manager of promotions and community outreach in the Department of Athletics. “They are a tangible force that energizes players. Ruff Riders promote Santa Clara University’s school spirit overall.”

Stuft Pizza and the Bronco Bench Foundation sponsor the club.

For a $40 membership fee, Ruff Riders get a free T-shirt, free admission to every sporting event, and half off at Stuft Pizza for four years. Most of all, the group gives students an organized, energized way to support SCU’s athletic teams.

Founded by Kevin McDonough in 1999, the club was honored as the top registered student organization at SCU for its “commitment and excellence in the areas of event planning and student activities.” It was also named the outstanding club of the year in 1999. After starting with 745 members in 1999, Ruff Riders now has more than 1,300 members.

“They are a tangible force that energizes players. Ruff Riders promote Santa Clara University’s school spirit overall.”
-LINDAY AMSTUTZ

“We sign up a lot of freshmen at orientation and during basketball season,” says co-president Brett Waller. “Any SCU student can join Ruff Riders. There is even a group of 15 law students, with their own separate cheering bench.” The club has pre-game pizza parties and makes an annual road trip to San Diego for the men’s West Coast Conference tournament.

In addition to energizing the atmosphere at games, Ruff Riders have an impact on recruits, Amstutz says. “When recruits go to games, it is exciting to see school spirit,” she says. “The Ruff Riders’ presence is huge. They lead cheers, wave signs, some even paint their faces and wear capes.”

Men’s basketball coach Dick Davey says the Ruff Riders are a welcome presence at games.

“There is incredible pride in the basketball team and the entire athletic program at Santa Clara University,” he says. “I am really impressed with the efforts of the whole student body, uplifting and encouraging our team. Their energy makes a major difference at every game. Ruff Riders bring student enthusiasm to a high level, and that really helps our team.”

For more information on the Ruff Riders, see www.santaclarabroncos.com.

post-image The Ruff Riders booster club, which has 1,300 members, is a vocal presence at SCU sporting events.
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