Generations of Westporters know Betty Lou Cummings as Westport’s #1 cheerleader.
Whether serving as 2nd selectman or leading projects like the Riverwalk or library’s River of Names, Betty Lou is a big civic booster.
Some Westporters know that Betty Lou’s enthusiasm comes naturally: She was a cheerleader at Michigan State.
What many don’t know is that she was 1 of the first female cheerleaders there — or in the entire Big 10.
Recently, Betty Lou returned to her native state. The occasion was bittersweet — she and her husband Tom said goodbye to his mother, who died recently at 103 — but she also stopped by her alma mater’s alumni association.
When they heard her history, they taped her — for their archives, and YouTube.
In 1954, Betty Lou says, 200 students tried out for the cheerleading squad. Only 6 were chosen. Four — like her — were blonde.
“We were famous all over Michigan,” she says. Nearly all cheerleaders at the time were male.
In the video, she talks about her work with Westport’s Senior Center. Every Super Bowl Sunday, she leads cheers at the annual party — with her green and white Spartans pompoms.
She also says that instead of accompanying the squad to the Rose Bowl, she got married. Her father objected: She could get married any time — but there was only one Rose Bowl.
At the end of the video, Betty Lou gives a rousing Michigan State cheer.
She hasn’t lost a beat.