It is the estimation of this author that it is truly impossible to separate the initiation of competitive cheerleading from the origination of cheerleading in and of itself. The birth of cheering was centered on a competitive event and therefore cheering itself was competitive from the beginning.

There can be no doubt that the first time that two different squads were on the field supporting their respective teams at the same event, that competition was on. With the advent of World War II and the changing of cheering from a male dominated activity to a female dominated activity the level of competition increased geometrically. Why? If one thinks about the situation for college females at that time there was truly limited opportunities for them to compete in athletics, so cheering became a venue in which they could truly compete against one another in a setting which included athletic skills (tumbling and gymnastics).

Cheerleading Gets Competitive

Cheering at around this same time became big business and there is nothing more competitive than the world of business. Lawrence Herkimer from Dallas, Texas held the first cheer clinics in 1946 and 1947 at Southern Methodist University. The following year in 1948 the first cheer camp was held at Sam Houston College in Huntsville, Texas. The first camp had only 53 campers but by 1950 there were over 350 campers in attendance.