What’s this thing they call Hippodrome?

It started as a small stunt competition in 1928 where Wichita State students competed for a small prize. Since then, it has evolved into a modern day skit and variety show presenting talent, laughs and stunts put on entirely by WSU students.  

The longest-standing campus tradition, Hippodrome, is celebrating its 87th year with a “Huxley goes viral” theme.

“Social media is very popular right now, and we thought that would be a good thing to throw into the skits, and we saw it as a good way to plan events,” campus traditions chair Logan Pohl said.

The show first started as a one-day performance featuring acrobatic tricks and slowly developed through the years. At one point, Hippodrome lasted an entire week. At another, only a few days. There was even a time when classes were canceled for Hippodrome.

“This year is a very different show,” Pohl said. “The skits are very different and you and tell they have practiced very hard. The skits will relate very well to the college student with phrases such as ‘hashtag.’”  

So, where does the word “Hippodrome” come from, and who is Huxley the Hippo?

Hippodrome is a Greek term for an arena or structure that held equestrian and other spectacles. The show was dubbed Hippodrome when it was first created in 1928. Most Greek organizations and university cheerleaders participated in the stunt competition.

With the condensed word, “hippo” already in the name, the hippopotamus mascot was adopted by Student Activities Council and named Huxley.