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Young Cheerleaders Showcase Tiger, Rebel Rivalry

Clara Yarborough, 5, left hopes to be a Golden Girl someday and her cousin Molly Kate Skupien is aiming for the Rebelettes.

Clara Yarborough, 5, left hopes to be a Golden Girl someday and her cousin Molly Kate Skupien is aiming for the Rebelettes.

When it comes to the loyalties of two Ole Miss graduates living in Baton Rouge, LA., the cheerleader faceoff of 5-year-old best-friend cousins is all in the family.

Jeremy and Katie Skupien were both members of the Ole Miss Spirit Squad. “I grew up in Baton Rouge an LSU fan,” admits Katie. “It was a foregone conclusion that I would eventually go to LSU and dance for the Golden Girls (LSU Dance Team).”

Fate stepped in in the person of Katie’s grandfather, who was a professor of accounting at Ole Miss in the 1970s.  “My grandfather told anyone who would listen in the 70s that I was an Ole Miss baby,” she said.

Katie’s other grandfather was a Mississippi native and big Rebel football fan who also laid on the Ole Miss push as the young girl grew up in Tiger country.

Katie decided to honor her grandfathers’ wishes by at least taking a campus visit to Oxford. “I fell in love immediately,” she said.

When Katie met her future husband and then Rebel cheerleader Jeremy, the new Rebelette fell in love hard a second time. “My father (Tommy Yarborough of Baton Rouge) said it was bad enough I broke his heart and went to Ole Miss — but then I went and married an Ole Miss boy,” Katie said with a smile. The two cheered together and after graduating in 2000, moved back to Baton Rouge to get married.

Katie Yarborough Skupien
Jeremy Skupien holding Walker, age 3, and Katie holding Molly Kate, age 5, were both cheerleaders at Ole Miss.

Jeremy is a sales rep for Manda Fine Meats there and Katie is a stay-at-home mom to her two children Molly Kate, 5, and Walker, 3. “Walker is showing signs of becoming an Ole Miss fan himself but my Dad swears he is being brainwashed,” Katie said.

But it’s best friends and cousins, Molly Kate and Clara Yarborough, also aged 5, who display the youngest and most clearly visible Tiger, Rebel rivalry. The two youngsters love to don the uniforms of their respective future spirit squads and wave pom poms to cheer on their teams at family gatherings. Clara is the daughter of Katie’s brother Patrick Yarborough and his wife Blair.

“It’s a huge family rivalry,” Katie said. “Between my father and two brothers, we love to secretly plant school flags on each other’s lawns.” Despite conceding she is viewed as the black sheep of the family for her Ole Miss loyalties, Katie said it’s all in good fun and the kidding is light-hearted. The Skupiens get to Ole Miss games whenever we can, she added.

Andy Knef, Managing Editor, HottyToddy.com 

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