Roses still in bloom

Published Dec. 22, 2010 4:19 p.m. ET

Posted: December 22, 2010 5:20 p.m. CT


MADISON, Wis. -- As Badger fans look ahead to the big game on New Year's Day, we look back on a story with a familiar scene, just a different era.

Meet Ron and Joni Fiedler, UW alums from the 1950's who still to this day are sporting Badger red. It was the fall of 1952 when UW held the first tryouts for women to join the school's cheer squad. Up until this point, all Big Ten cheer teams consisted of only men.

Joni Morash (Fiedler) made quite an impression and became one of the university's first female cheerleaders. Perfect timing too, considering the football program that same year went on to claim the Big Ten title, earning their first trip to the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately they were defeated by the University of Southern California, but the new co-ed cheer squad didn't seem to mind.

Around that same time Ron and Joni met on a blind date thanks to friends, and they were engaged a year later. Fast forward and you'll find the same love growing over 55 years of marriage. The Fiedlers have three children who all graduated from UW as well, and five grandchildren who all make regular appearances at games.

You could say that the Fiedlers' number one love is Badger athletics. They have had season tickets for football for the last 23 years, 36 years for hockey and 20 years for men's basketball. Both Ron and Joni have been UW ambassadors for the athletic department since the early 1990's, which is what keeps them living in Madison.

"We do travel, but not like our friends