5 Reasons We Love Lawrence Herkimer, The Grandfather Of Modern Cheerleading
Lawrence Herkimer took cheerleading from the sidelines and thrusted it into the spotlight while turning it into a lucrative business along the way. And let’s not forget the countless young athletes inspired by the road this visionary pioneer paved. He passed away last July, but his legend lives on.. Today he would have been 90.
Here are five reasons we will alway love Herkie.
He invented the Herkie jump.
Ever wonder who invented the Herkie Jump, or why it’s even called a Herkie in the first place? You know this jump. You’ve done this jump. This is the man you have to thank. When the NY Times asked him about his famous leap, Lawrence said “It was just a poor split jump. I don’t like to tell people that.”
Lawrence Herkimer, The Businessman.
With a loan of just $600 from a friend of his father-in-law, Lawrence R. Herkimer launched what would eventually become a multi-million dollar industry. He had his own cheer camp, cheerleading apparel company, and he even published a magazine for Cheerleaders called Megaphone. Oh, and he started it all from a garage, proving that with enough hard work and ingenuity, any dream is achievable. He eventually sold his cheer empire for $20 million in 1986.
He patented the pompom.
Before ol’ Herkie, cheerleaders twirled boring chrome batons. With the advent of color TV, Herkimer decided to brighten things up with his own creation that he named the pompom. “I figured there had to be something more colorful on the field than a chrome stick that the cheerleaders twirled,” he said, “so I got the idea to put some colored paper on a stick.”
(via NY Times)
He founded the National Cheerleaders Association.
Lawrence Herkimer founded the National Cheerleaders association in 1949. If it weren’t for the NCA, there wouldn’t be cheer camp – they did it first! Cheer camp was meant to bring cheerleaders together to learn new skills under qualified instructors. The first camp had only 52 girls and one boy in attendance. The camp was so popular that the next year, attendance shot to 350.
His legacy will live on forever.
It it isn’t evident enough from everything listed above, the cheer community owes a lot to Lawrence R. Herkimer. He was a true pioneer of the sport and dedicated a large portion of his life to it. Happy 90th birthday, Herkie. Thank you for all that you have done!