Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Go Get a Rat Trap, Bigger than a Cat Trap

Go Get a Rat Trap, Bigger than a Cat Trap

By: Ardis E. Parshall - April 22, 2010

Just before his death in 1877, Brigham Young provided for the establishment of a “college” (closer in spirit to the church’s stake academy system than to a modern college) in Logan, Utah. Brigham Young College existed in one form or another until 1926, serving some 40,000 students as high school, junior college, or normal (teacher training) college. Some of its graduates were future apostles John A. Widtsoe, Melvin J. Ballard, Hugh B. Brown, Marriner S. Eccles, Richard R. Lyman, and Albert E. Bowen.

Brigham Young College published a little booklet of its Cheers and Songs in 1921. The booklet includes “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America,” and a “College Hymn” expressing such fervent devotion as we seldom see even in our hymn book:

Where the bright crimson banner floats free in the air,
There’s a joy in each soul that is there,
Every heart swells with pride, there’s a fire in each eye,
That tells of our love for B.Y.
Our friends oft may falter and leave us alone,
And fame is as dreams that have flown,
But the soul of our souls destined never to die
Is the Brigham Young College – B.Y.

So losing or winning we stand by her side,
Her strength is our hope and our pride;
Her life is our life and we live or we die,
In the life or the death of B.Y.
Then glory and honor be thine, B.Y.C.
Thy children bring praises to thee;
For the fervor, the hope of each student shall lie
In the watchword, “Press onward, B.Y.”

The bulk of the booklet consists of cheers to be offered during sporting events. And what football team wouldn’t be inspired to hear its supporters screaming from the sidelines such gems as:

Razzle Dazzle, Never Frazzle,
Not a thread but wool;
Altogether, Altogether,
That’s the way we pull.


We’re out for the game,
We’ve got the stuff.
What the deuce is the matter with us,
We’re all right, we’re all right.
B.Y., B.Y., get in and fight.

or even:

With a vevo,
With a vevo,
With a vevo, vivo, vivo, vum.
Go get a rat trap, bigger than a cat trap,
Go get a rat trap, bigger than a drum.
Cannibals, cannibals, zip, boom, bah.
B.Y., B.Y., Rah! Rah! Rah!

They may have felt oh-so-naughty chanting this —

We have no yell, we have no yell,
But when we yell we yell like —
Rip Van Winkle’s little yellow pup,
B.Y., B.Y., won’t give up.

but apparently they felt no need to clean this one up —

Nigger, nigger, whole patater,
Half past alligator,
Zis bam, boom-a-gaiter,
Chic a wah dah,
B.Y., B.Y., Rah, rah, rah.

If the game is basketball, we have –

On, dear B.Y., on, dear B.Y.
Pass the ball along,
In the basket, hear the racket,
We will beat them, Rah! Rah! Rah!
On, dear B.Y., on dear B.Y.
Then the game is won,
Fight, fellows, fight, fight, fight,
We’ll win the game.

There’s even a special cheer when B.Y.C. played its arch-rival, Logan’s Agricultural College (now Utah State University) –

Soon our team will sweep into the gym,
While we give cheers for victory.
And when the game begins with poor A.C.
We well say, A.C., we weep for thee.
Poor old A.C., poor old A.C.,
How badly we are going to beat you.
We’ll win this game, add to the fame
Of our dear B.Y.C.

But the Agricultural College shouldn’t feel singled out –

Oh, Provo is a hoodoo,
And so is the U. of U.
The Aggies are a hoodoo, too.
For they’re nothin’ thro and thro.
We’ll cheer Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah!
And we’ll yell with all our might,
None of them can beat our B.Y. boys,
For they don’t know how to fight,.
We’ll beat them on the track and field,
We’ll beat them in the Gym.
They’ll know that they are losing
When they hear us sing our hymn.

We love our B.Y.C.
Yes, our dear old B.Y.C.
We’ll ever stand by thee,
For your old Alma Mater
In all contests you will win,
And other schools give in,
For they know that B.Y.C.
Will never fail.

So take that, you challengers. I’m sure you’ll quake in your Adidas when you hear the war cry –

Hi, Ki, Wah, Hoo.
B.Y., go through.
Hi, Ki, Zam, Bi.
Let’s go, B.Y.

Bonus points given for writing at least part of your comment as a cheer.



  1. I’ll have to read (and practice singing) all those songs later, but somehow I have a hard time equating the Board of Directors of First Security Bank, or even the Federal Reserve Board, with the Quorum of the Twelve. : )

    Could you have been thinking of Joseph W. Merrill, son of Marriner Merrill?

    The only cheer I could think of in connection with this comment was a Bronx cheer, and I don’t know how you’d write that, Ardis.

    Comment by Mark B. — April 22, 2010 @ 8:39 am

  2. At Provo High we had (and 40 years on, I suspect they still have) a yell that included:

    And when we yell we yell like hell

    So not just the BY College folks enjoyed that rhyme.

    And, if they were like the Provo High cheering section, that last word in the line was the yelled louder than any of the rest of the cheer.

    Comment by Mark B. — April 22, 2010 @ 8:47 am

  3. Yeah, bad editing of my first draft, Mark — Eccles was definitely not an apostle. Well, of finance, maybe, but not of the Church.

    We’re no pansies! We’re not docile!
    Scat, Mr. Eccles — you’re no apostle!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 22, 2010 @ 9:09 am

  4. Gee, Ardis, you’re certainly sweet
    Snatching a win from the jaws of defeat!

    Comment by Mark B. — April 22, 2010 @ 9:15 am

  5. Oh, oh, and the Turner Sisters went to BYC.

    No, not those Turner Sisters, these Turner sisters. At least one of them was baptized in Tennessee before they left for Logan, Utah. That baptism caused quite stir locally.

    They attended BYC about 25-30 years before this cheer and song book came out. Both became teachers.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — April 22, 2010 @ 9:27 am

  6. I just love it when two history posts collide. I remember your post, Bruce.

    Ada, Ada, sweet potata,
    Born in Tennessee!
    Josie, Josie, traveled with her,
    Came to B.Y.C.!
    Rah, rah!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 22, 2010 @ 9:32 am

  7. Oh that’s good.

    Comment by Bruce Crow — April 22, 2010 @ 9:37 am

  8. With all those lines that end, “B.Y.”
    It made me think forthwith
    That I’m so glad his last name’s “Young” —
    And that it wasn’t “Smith”!

    Comment by Hunter — April 22, 2010 @ 9:45 am

  9. As for the perceived silliness of some of these chants, it made me think of the much-loved University of Alabama post-game taunt:

    Hey [opposing mascot]!
    Hey [opposing mascot]!
    We just beat the hell outta you!
    Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer
    Give ’em hell Alabama!

    And I got thinking that the difference between the renowned Alabama chant and the silly ones in this post is simply the fact that the Alabama chant has been in use for years and years, and is shouted by tens of thousands of fans.

    Who knows? With enough repetition and in a huge stadium, maybe even words like ki, wah, and hoodoo might sound motivating.

    Comment by Hunter — April 22, 2010 @ 9:58 am

  10. Your #8 knocked the doggerel right out of me, Hunter, along with two snorts and a guffaw. You win!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 22, 2010 @ 10:02 am

  11. I thought this was going to be about nutria rats.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — April 22, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  12. The rats bigger than cats made me think of the R.O.U.S.s from the Princess Bride. Inconceivable!

    Rah Rah Ree!
    Kick them in the knee!

    Rah Rah Rass!
    Kick them in the other knee!

    Comment by kevinf — April 22, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

  13. I can’t top any of those, and especially not Hunter’s gem, so I won’t even try. Bravo, everyone.

    Comment by Researcher — April 22, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  14. At Fullerton Union High School (SoCal) in the 1960s, we had the following:

    1. (From the 1920s. Our first class graduated in 1896)

    “Wo bo ski watten datten
    Lana ana BOOM
    Wo bo ski watten datten
    Lana ana BOOM
    Nish ki diddley oh-ten-doten
    Nish ki diddley eat-ten-deeten
    Wo bo ski watten datten
    Lana ana BOOM”
    (Repeat twice, with more intensity and more loudly each time as if trying to make this point clear)

    2. (intentional self-parody, this was the 1960s) “Peanuts, popcorn, onion soup! We want a touchdown, boop boop be doop!”

    Our special cheering group, “Indian Stags” had several unique cheers we performed from our reserved section at end of basketball court.

    3. “We’re not stingy, We’re not mean! We’ll do a yell for the other team! M-I-C…K-E-Y…O-U-S-O-B!”

    4. “2 bits, 4 bits, 6 bits, a dollar; All for the other team, stand up and holler!” (one guy in the middle of the group then would stand, wave a white handkerchief, and call out, “Yeah, Dickey” — then the rest of the group would pounce upon him and from the middle of the pile we would throw onto the court shirt, pants, and shoes we had stashed under the risers.

    (others which I will forego here)

    Comment by manaen — April 23, 2010 @ 1:55 am

  15. I don’t know which is more awesome: the stunts and cheers themselves, or that manaen remembers them so clearly. Especially 3.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 23, 2010 @ 7:13 am

  16. Wow, what a great time. I can almost imagine what your class reunions are like with all of you cheering and throwing shirts and pants and shoes.

    Comment by Maurine — April 24, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

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