You start out with a closed fist. Then stick out your forefinger and raise your thumb. All of a sudden your hand looks like a cocked pistol. That’s Texas Tech’s “Guns Up” gesture that students use at sporting events and in greeting each other. Next year, 2021, will mark the 50th year of “Guns Up.”
In 1971, Glenn Dippel and his wife Roxie, both graduates of Texas Tech, saw a cartoon of a Yosemite Sam character holding two six-shooters in the air. Roxie said, “What do you think of this?” and did the guns up gesture. Glenn went to the copy machine, and made a copy of his hand in the guns up position. He sent it to the Saddle Tramps, Tech’s spirit organization, along with a letter saying the gesture could be a way of Tech students to recognize each other and also to combat the University of Texas’s “hook ‘em horns” gesture.
Glenn and Roxie moved to Austin from Lubbock in 1970. “We weren’t emotionally prepared for all the orange and hook ‘em horns signs all over town. We loved Tech and still do. We still subscribe to the Lubbock newspaper. That’s where we saw the cartoon that prompted all this. The newspaper’s cartoonist, Dirk West, drew the cartoon.”
In the fall of 1971, Glenn and Roxie went to the UT stadium to see the football game between Texas and Texas Tech. They were surprised to see the Tech cheerleaders and students using the guns up sign. “Roxie and I looked at each other, raised our eyebrows and wondered if we had started that.”
Glenn and Roxie went to an after game party and Glenn asked somebody about the gesture. The person replied, “Yeah, some guy in Austin started that.”
By 1975 it was established that Glenn and Roxie had indeed been the originators of the guns up tradition and were recognized by the alumni association. “We’re tickled to be able to do that for Tech,” says Glenn. “My two favorite teams are Texas Tech and whoever Texas is playing.”
Glenn grew up in Old Glory, Texas, the only town in the US to have that name. It was originally called Brandenburg but was changed during World War One because it sounded too foreign. Glenn had the choice of going to either a college in Abilene or Texas Tech. He knew Abilene was dry at the time, so he chose Tech. He thrived there. His mother said he majored in Roxie. They met at church and have been married 62 years.
He and Roxie both studied accounting and passed the CPA exam in 1971. “We have the distinction of being the only couple in Texas to pass the exam together at the same time.”
Both have retired and live in Temple.