CPP senior brings school spirit to Bronco statue

By Kristine Pascual, May 14, 2024

The Bronco statue between Building 54 and the Bronco Recreation Intramural Complex has stood tall since 2014, acting as a staple for grad photos, newly admitted students and school visitors. Each day students walk past the statue on their way to class or coming from their dorms.  

As each season passes, with several holidays interlaced, the Bronco statue undergoes a makeover every now and then. Students surround the statue smiling and posing in front of Billy. But who’s decorating the beloved Billy? Most believe the decorations are put together by ASI representatives or dorm resident advisors but, the brain behind the project is civil engineering student Darcy Bolter.

Darcy Bolter poses with her graduation stole next to the Billy Bronco statue. Kristine Pascual | The Poly Post

“To be honest, I never told anyone because I was worried I would get in trouble,” Bolter said. “And then after a while of decorating the statue I just stopped caring. Because I’m graduating and I’ve put a lot of time, money and energy into this, I’ve actually been trying to tell more people that I’ve been decorating the statue.” 

Each season Bolter decorates the Bronco statue with hats, boas, banners and more from Halloween to Christmas to Easter to everything in between. Bolter uses money from her own pocket, trying to spend as little as possible on decorations to bring happiness to those who see the statue. 

“I think it makes people smile and makes them happy,” Bolter said. “Originally, I was really just trying to liven up the school a little bit. I know it’s sappy, but I love to see everyone enjoying it. It’s really for the students more than anything.” 

Bolter originally hails from San Diego, California where once upon a time she was majoring in German Bolter always knew she loved civil engineering and was previously a student at Long Beach State. During COVID-19, she ended up dropping out and taking courses at a local community college in San Diego. As she began touring colleges again, Bolter quickly fell in love with the culture and “small town vibes” at CPP. 

“I distinctly remember walking in front of the BSC and the library,” Bolter said. “I stood there and thought, ‘I can see myself here.’ It’s not like USC in the middle of Downtown LA or anything and CPP is nothing like actual Pomona. (CPP) is a farm school and is practically its own little entity.” 

Bolter transferred to CPP in the fall of 2021 when COVID-19 protocols were strict, with masks still being mandated and social distancing in place. Bolter felt the campus needed more school spirit. 

“Campus was depressing in 2021,” Bolter said. “It felt like you would see one person a day on campus, it really was a ghost town at first.” 

During Bolter’s first semester passing by the Billy Bronco statue each day, she realized that she could use her creativity for good. On a random trip to Michael’s, Bolter came across a pair of giant googly eyes she felt she could later utilize. Afterward, Bolter bought the eyes and stuck them on Billy Bronco. Since then, Bolter has decorated the statue for major holidays like Christmas but also for holidays like Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. The first time Bolter went all out on the statue was in December of 2021, when Billy received a festive makeover. 

“We were coming up on finals week and I wanted to do something special for Christmas,” Bolter said. “I put a Santa hat on Billy’s head, and I found a foam ball at Michael’s and painted it red to stick on Billy’s nose. I put a bunch of tinsel on him too.” 

The first few times Bolter decorated the statue, she was undercover in the middle of the night afraid that campus police would view her decorations as vandalism. To her surprise, rather than getting in trouble, the official CPP Instagram account posted a photo of the statue with her decorations on it. Bolter’s decorations not only light students’ day, but they also bring people together.  

“I’ve had plenty of people from the dorms help me,” Bolter said. “Random friends, clubs, literal strangers and even campus police have stopped to help me decorate.” 

Hundreds of students pass by each day smiling and taking photos of the beloved statue. As Bolter posed for photos, students stopped and admired the “graduating” Billy bronco statue.

The Bronco statue decorated in all its glory. Kristine Pascual | The Poly Post

“My favorite thing is walking back from class, and I’ll overhear people talking about the statue and wondering who decorated it,” Bolter said. 

This semester is Bolter’s final one at CPP. With teary eyes Bolter reminisces on the memories she’s made, the friends she’ll keep and the stories she’ll tell moving forward. 

“I’ve loved my classes, I’ve had an amazing time here,” Bolter said. “I met some great people and I’m so glad I didn’t go to SLO.”

Feature image by Kristine Pascual

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