It’s a regular game day in Stillwater as the football team prepares for its next opponent. The tailgating started hours before the game and the parties are in full swing. Many students and alumni are enjoying their burgers and barbeque, while members of Orange Pride are preparing for their busy day.
Orange Pride is a group of students that serve as ambassadors for the football program and Oklahoma State University. Sharla Curtis, the program’s advisor, has been working in the athletic department for three years.
Curtis usually recruits 40 to 45 women to be a part of Orange Pride and is very particular in what she is looking for in an ambassador.
“We are looking for girls who are proud of OSU, who are proud of our athletic program, and specifically proud of our football program,” Curtis said. “We want someone with a good personality who is able to talk to recruits as well as the recruits’ families. We want students that we know will represent our university in the best possible light.”
Not only do the Orange Pride girls help with the football program, but they also hold regular office hours and help out around campus.
“Our girls also help with admissions when they do campus tours and along with office hours, we also have weekly meetings,” Curtis said. “They also help with our summer high school football camps, the Football 101 Camp and Junior Days, as well as hosting recruits on official visits with our current football players.”
Curtis is in charge of organizing Orange Pride along with other duties around the athletic department.
“Along with Orange Pride, I am also a recruiting assistant in the football office,” Curtis said. “I make sure we have mailers going out to our football recruits three or four times a week. I schedule the Orange Pride girls to work with coaches and make sure they are downstairs in the office to greet visitors.”
Similar to the football players, the Orange Pride members have to be at the stadium early on a game day.
“The Orange Pride girls have to be in the football office three hours prior to kickoff,” Curtis said. “This allows us to make sure everyone knows what their job is, get their nametags ready and be in position when recruits start arriving two hours prior to kickoff.”
The Orange Pride members have many different duties during a game day including greeting recruits at the gate, directing them to get their tickets and making sure that they are on the correct list for the correct game.
“We also have several Orange Pride girls in the training table that go around and meet the recruits and the people they brought with them,” Curtis said. “Then we position the girls all the way down to the field level to help show the recruits and guests how to get down to go out to the field to watch the team warm-up and then they take them to their seats. The girls all sit together in the West End Zone cheering the Cowboys to a victory, and they stay until the alma mater is sung at the end of the game.”
Although Curtis loves game week and game day activities, she realizes the pressures that come along with it and the duties she must perform.
“It gets a little stressful because it is a lot busier when we host recruits and parents at our stadium,” Curtis said. “We have to make sure that we have all the nametags ready to go when they get here and have their tickets and wristbands ready to get the recruits on the field to watch the team warm-up.”
Before working in the OSU athletic department, Curtis was a secretary at Richmond Elementary in Stillwater. Because of her passion to work with people, naturally, her favorite part of her job is getting to spend time with the Orange Pride members.
“My favorite part is taking them to Talley’s Ranch for a team building experience,” Curtis said. “It is great to watch the friendships form as they get to know each other. I also love it when they come to the football office just to visit with me or each other.”
Curtis and the Orange Pride members put in a lot of hard work to make sure the game day goes smoothly, but there is always something that keeps Curtis going.
“The girls definitely keep me young and are great to be around,” Curtis said. “Sometimes I feel like I am a mother to 42 girls.”