Early Hoofers History: 1970s

1970 – 1979

Hoofers members canoeing, 1970s.

Hoofers members canoeing, 1970s.

1970
The Ecology Club was created, and the Ecology Information Center opened. The club hosted speakers, workshops, films, Earth Week, Bikecology day, and lobbied for change within the government. Probably the group’s most visible venture was the introduction of a campus newspaper recycling program in 1972.

The program was so successful that the university and the residence halls took over its operation. The Ecology Club was short-lived, as was the Hoofer Environment Club, started in the 1980s, but ecological concerns were always a component of Hoofers.

1970s
Boating activities increase in popularity. 700 canoes were rented during the 1970-1971 school year. In 1972-1973, nearly half of the $48,400 collected in Hoofers membership dues were generated by the Sailing Club.

1973
The Outing Center Annex opened in Union South. Inventory for this year included 93 pairs of downhill skis, 26 pairs of cross country skis, 31 tents, 41 sleeping bags, 20 backpacks, 33 canoes, 9 rowboats, and 3 fiberglass dinghys. The store also rented smaller camping supplies such as camp stoves and hiking boots.

Renting skis from Hoofers, 1950s. #dn06021413

Renting skis from Hoofers, 1950s. #dn06021413

1974
The Sailing Club was distinguished as the largest university sailing club in the country, boasting between 2,500 and 3,000 members and 80 boats of seven different classes, including 3 Olympic classes. Hoofers’ largest club since the early 1950s, the Sailing Club was giving 5,000 hours of instruction to at least 1,300 students by 1974.

1974
A Hoofer-Union Liaison Committee was formed to improve communication between the two groups. Over the years, they frequently disagreed about day-to-day operations as well as the nature of their unusual relationship. Questions about who owned Hoofers equipment and who had the final say regarding activities and policies were recurring issues.

The students chafed under the Union’s watchful eye, claiming that it was trying to direct the Hoofers, rather than guide them. They wanted more freedom in general, including longer hours for and increased access to the organization’s facilities in the Union.

The leadership of the Union contended that their advisory role was necessary, and had concerns of its own: a few incidents with the fireplace and flammable materials in the boat-building area had made them wary, and there were complaints of theft and “immoral acts” in the Hoofers quarters.

1976
The SCUBA Club was officially accepted as part of Hoofers. The idea of such a club was proposed as early as 1961— the suggestion was routed to the Outing Club, where it was dismissed as too expensive to implement. Fifteen years later, the sport was organized as an independent club.

SCUBA diver in Lake Mendota

SCUBA diver in Lake Mendota

1976
Hoofers grew to over 5,600 members.

1977
The Riding Club assumed management of Pleasant View Stables, a privately owned horse barn in Middleton which they had been using. The City of Middleton purchased the property in 1994 and sued the Riding Club to vacate the premises.

By 1998, the Riding Club had purchased their new facility, the Hoofer Equestrian Center, and vacated Pleasant View Stables. Eventually, the City of Middleton was ordered by the court to pay $46,000 for relocation expenses.