The cannon, operated by members of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity, is traditionally fired after every Cyclone touchdown or field goal. Additionally, it has been fired on kickoffs and was formerly fired during the Cyclone Marching Band’s playing of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
An industrious group of Iowa State University students, which included pep council president Chuck Duncan, brainstormed in 1954 about ways to build school spirit. The Pep Council got the go-ahead from ISU alumni director “Red” Barron, sports information director Harry Burrell and Cyclone Club director Ray Donels to pursue the creation of a mascot.
Since a cyclone was difficult to depict in costume, a cardinal was selected from the cardinal and gold of the official school colors. A cardinal-like bird was introduced at the 1954 homecoming pep rally. A contest was conducted to select a name for the mascot, and the winning entry of Cy was submitted by 17 people. The first to submit the name, Mrs. Ed Ohlsen, won a cardinal and gold stadium blanket.
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The now famous moniker for Iowa State’s home basketball facility was coined by Des Moines Register writer Buck Turnbull on Feb. 14, 1989, after the Cyclones stunned third-ranked Missouri 82-75. The morning newspaper included a headline that read “Hilton Magic Spells ‘Upset’ One More Time.”
In the article, Turnbull called for more Hilton Magic in an upcoming game with Oklahoma State. Cyclone fans responded and ISU defeated the Cowboys 90-81 and a nickname was born. The Hilton Magic term received great notoriety during a 39-game homecourt winning streak in men’s basketball from 1999-2002.
Made popular in recent years, Iowa State fans sing Sweet Caroline By Neil Diamond in between the third and fourth quarters of football games when the Cyclones are ahead as well as post-game after significant victories.
Video of Sweet Caroline
One cherished tradition of Cyclone football is the ringing of the Victory Bell after each gridiron triumph in Ames. It has graced the Iowa State University campus for more than a century. The bell was originally used to signal changes in class periods and student curfews. It was moved to Clyde Williams Field early in the 20th century and eventually to Jack Trice Stadium. The bell was cast in 1890 by the Clinton H. Meneely Bell Co. of Troy, N.Y.