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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

After 80 years, girls still want to be 'greenies'

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Incoming Red Peppers -- also known as greenies -- dressed as Bulldogs participate in a parade Friday afternoon, the last of their initiation. A female organization, the Red Peppers are the oldest, and likely largest, pep club in the state.
(Scott Welton, Staff)
SIKESTON -- From the moment she went to her first Sikeston football game as a small child, senior Sarah Hopson knew that one day, she wanted to be a Red Pepper.

"I couldn't do flips or anything so I knew cheerleading wasn't the way to go," said Sarah, treasurer of the organization. "My mom was also a Red Pepper, so she told me what it was all about, and I knew I wanted to do it."

She isn't the only high school girl who feels that way. Jessica Rataj, this year's Cayenne -- the highest office for the organization -- is a third-generation Red Pepper.

"I've been in love with it as long as I can remember," she said.

Last week, the dream of becoming a Red Pepper became a reality for many girls during "Greenie Week," when the initiation takes place. It wrapped up Friday with a Greenie Parade from the school to the downtown area.

"The Sikeston Red Peppers are the oldest and probably the largest pep club in the state of Missouri," said Wanda Throop, who sponsors the Red Peppers along with Sarah McGill and Tricia Keefer. Red Peppers have been in existence since 1928.

Like Rataj and Hopson, Throop said many of the 200-plus girls who call themselves Red Peppers have family ties to the organization.

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