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Three East TN residents claim to have put the "woo" in the chorus of Rocky Top

11:44 AM, Feb 23, 2011   |    comments
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A couple of weeks ago, 10News looked into the "woo" fans sing during the chorus of Rocky Top. While a few people don't like the "woo", we found most did including Del Bryant, who is the son of the writers of the song.

Since the story aired, we had several people contact us to say they knew who put the "woo" in Rocky Top. Within the hour of airing the story, we received three different e-mails from former UT students who all live in the Knoxville area. All three said they had a hand in starting a Tennessee tradition.

Mark Dulniak was a student at UT in the late '90's. Dulniak believes he and a friend are responsible for starting the woo during the excitement of Tennessee's comeback win over Arkansas during the 1998 Championship season.

"During the pause in Rocky Top I remember just starting to scream woo and he started screaming with me and eventually somehow it caught on," explained Dulniak.

However, two others have a different memory. Both were in the Pride of the Southland band at roughly the same time, although they didn't know each other.

"The woo was just an exhalation, just a pull that instrument aside for just a second, and shout woo was something that me and about 8 other friends started doing about 1993," said Chris McGee who played trumpet in the band.

Eric Sampsel played trombone and he said he and his friends started the "woo" trying to have fun with a song they played over and over and over."

We had an official count on how many times the band had played Rocky Top and back when I was in it we were getting around 1,000 times a year.

If you play any song 1,000 times you start to do anything to make things different. We would start the salute and say, some of us would say yee-haw! The yee-haw was more like a yeee-haaaw!!" said Sampsel.

No matter which story you chose, none set out to start the "woo."

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