The Hoofer History

Hoofers has a history rich in adventure!


A group of Norwegian student ski jumpers supplied the enthusiasm leading to the construction of a wooden ski slide on Muir Knoll. The desire to promote skiing was the impetus which led to the conception of the Wisconsin Hoofers.


A committee consisting of Professor H. C. Bradley, faculty member of the Union Council; Porter Butts, Union director; Edward Thomas, Union staff; and three students, Henry Baker, Sally Owen Marshall, and Marilla Eggler, was formed to consider establishing a University Skiing and Outing Club. The club organized as part of the Union and named itself the Wisconsin Hoofers. Out of the first three students, Henry Baker became the first president and Sally Marshall designed the first Hoofer logo - a black horseshoe superimposed on a red W, signifying that Hoofers go places under their own power ("they hoof it") and a symbol of good luck.


The Hoofers ordered their first set of 20 skis through the Dartmouth Outing Club, racking them in the Union billiard room and renting from the billiard desk - the club's initial source of income. At a cost of about $1700, Bradley and Butts raised the money to buy a new ski scaffold.


The original Hoofer constitution was written, providing Hoofers with a governing body, a chair for each activity, and two advisors.


Hoofers moved into their second home in the theater wing of the Union from their first quarters - a room in the basement of the president's old home. Grubstake, a limited cafeteria, opens in the Hoofers quarters. In addition to sandwiches and drinks, the most basic outing essentials were available: gum, cigarettes, and beer. Hoofers assumes responsibility for Winter Carnival.


The University Hunt Club joined Hoofers to become the Hoofer Riding Club. Shortly thereafter, the club sponsored its first horse show in the Stock Pavilion. In the same year, a group of intercollegiate sail-boat racing champions organized the Hoofer Sailing Club. Four hundred and sixty students signed up for a dry land sailing course at $1 per head to raise money for a dingy fleet and the first Yacht Club dance, called the "Commodore's Ball," was held in Great Hall.

1949 (or 1941)

Hoofer Mountaineering Club formed.


Canoe Club was organized, purchasing three canvas canoes with loans from members adding the first aluminum canoe to the fleet the following year.


The "Canoe Club" becomes the "Outing Club," but with canoeing continuing to be a major activity while also offering camping, backpacking, hiking, and other activities.


The Hoofer Store stocks large amount of equipment for sale and for rent with bikes, skis, ski boots, sleeping bags, tents, and all kinds of camping gear. The store also sold such things as cook kits, ski parkas and other ski items, manuals on numerous activities, goggles, jackets and sweatshirts, and mittens.


Hoofer Gliding, Ballooning, and Ecology Clubs were formed and later dissolved. The Outing Center Annex (which as the precursor to Outdoor Rentals) opens in Union South, renting 10 pairs of skis and 30 tents.


Hoofer Scuba Club founded. The largest ever Hoofer membership base recorded with over 5000 members.


Hoofers resurrects the famed Lake Mendota Statue of Liberty, which first appeared on Lake Mendota in the late 1970s, as part of Winter Carnival.


With the financial help of MUBA and the other Hoofer Clubs, the Hoofer Riding Club moves to its own stable, the "Hoofer Equestrian Center," in Belleville from Pleasant View Stables in Middleton.


With Wisconsin, Hoofers celebrates its 75th anniversary with alumni reunion dinner, the Hoofer documentary screening, and other events.


Hoofers moved into their newly renovated home within Outdoor UW at the Memorial Union. The renovation provided the Hoofer Clubs with approximately twice the amount of space they originally had below the Union Theater with individual club storage spaces, a more expansive and accessible boat house, locker rooms, improved Hoofer and advisor work space, and a larger, safer sailing shop with state of the art paint booth.


Hoofer Ski and Snowboard Club celebrates 50 years of trips to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.


Hoofer Clubs undergo an externally reviewed Safety Audit, wherein each club's practices are reviewed with recommendations made to the clubs and to Union Council for any necessary changes.


After years of financial and organizational struggle, Hoofer and Union Councils vote to liquidate the Hoofer Equestrian Center. The Hoofer Riding Club moves to its new home at Walnut Ridge Stables in Columbus.


After over a year of planning, the Hoofer Marina Project begins in October, to be completed by late spring of 2019.