Powderpuff Origination


Gracelin Watts, Staff Reporter

Powderpuff is a football game in which the cheerleaders and football players swap positions in a game under the Friday night lights. Girls play the field and the boys entertain the crowd. This event includes all willing juniors and seniors wanting to play.


Powderpuff has just recently come back to PHS in the school year of 2021-2022 since Covid has occurred. Powderpuff, just as any other annual event, has a history to the special, fan favorite event that was itching to return since Covid. 


There is no clear date of the first powderpuff game played but the earliest game photographed and documented was in 1931 at Western State College of Colorado (now known as Western State Colorado University). 


One of the first “well-documented” powderpuff football games was played on October 20, 1945 at Eastern State Teachers College in Madison, South Dakota. Similar to the world canceling a lot of plans, trips, events, etc. from the interruption of Covid, Eastern has to cancel many campus activities due to World War II. 


World War II ending.


The duration and aftermath of World War II was traumatic, shocking, sorrowful, etc. for everyone impacted. Covid had a similar impact to individuals and families as well. 


Eastern had only three men enrolled for the fall term the year the peace treaty was signed. This impact of not having their annual football game was heartbreaking to them. However, they came up with the idea of having their own game since Friday night lights for Eastern’s homecoming didn’t seem promising. 


This then turned into a proposal of women playing a football game. The idea of women playing football “was enough to curl your teeth” according to Robert C. Nelles, but nonetheless the committee gave their approval for the game to go on. 


Two groups of Eastern coeds formed at the time including residents of homes in Madison that attended classes on campus and others from surrounding small towns. There were a total of 230 girls wanting to play football so they split into two groups, the “townies” and the “dormies”. 


The Lady Leatherheads of Madison was the official name for their powderpuff teams.


This idea formed into benefiting teachers getting a real life mock of teaching a group of individuals. 


The girls imitated what they watch the football boys do with huddles and game traditions such as those. “We tried to be almost real, with huddles and all that,” -Susie Lowry


These traditions started back in the 1900s and are now still being practiced in 2023. This has been a long journey for powderpuff to evolve and has consistently become a cherished memory in a highschool students eventful four year experience.