With mascots, be careful what you pick

By By Marty Stamper / sports writer
Sept. 6, 2002
Did you ever wonder where some schools came up with their mascots? You have to wonder what some people were thinking.
Mississippi's strangest two mascots are the Epic Urchins of East Union and the Rockachaws of St. Stanislaus. A Rockachaw is the sand burr that kills your feet on the Mississippi Coast.
At Angels Camp, Cal., the mascot is Bullfrogs. It makes sense after you realize Angels Camp is the near the site where Mark Twain rented a cabin and wrote "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."
William Allen High School in Allentown, Pa., chose Canaries. It seems the school's biggest rival's mascot was the Hurricanes and a canary is the only animal that supposedly can fly through a hurricane.
Hutto (Texas) High School picked Hippos. It seems a hippopotamus once escaped from a circus in the area and was eventually found in a creek near Hutto. One can assume the pre-game meal has a lot of "hungry, hungry Hippos."
Fairfield (Ill.) High School has its Fightin' Mules. The mascot is represented by a mean-looking mule, scowling, bearing its teeth, and kicking up its hind legs. The school also has a special cheer: "Hee haw, hee haw, fight Mules fight; hee haw, hee haw, bite Mules bite."
Fordyce (Ark.) High School has Redbugs. The name was selected in the 1920s when the football team played on a field that hadn't been mowed the previous week and was infested with chiggers. Paul "Bear" Bryant went to Fordyce.
River Rats are the mascot for Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Mich. The name was originally used by opponents to poke fun at the school, but later became a badge of honor.
Doane Stuart School in Albany, N.Y., has the unique Thunder Chicken. The actual mascot plays bagpipes to intimidate the opposition. In keeping with the theme, the school's gym is known as the Chicken Coop.
The Zebras of Wayne (Mich.) High School were not named in honor of the officials at their games. The name was selected back in the 1920s when the school received new basketball uniforms that came complete with horizontal stripes.
Vincennes (Ind.) Lincoln High School is known as the Alices. The mascot is a large green snowman with an orange top hat. Go figure.
Numerous apple orchards near Cobden (Ill.) High School led to the selection of Appleknockers as its mascot.
Savannah (Ga.) Johnson High School chose Atom Smashers.
Richland (Wash.) High School selected Bombers. The official school logo is a large R (for Richland) and a mushroom cloud in the background. Word has it anti-nuclear activists and Japanese residents are none too thrilled.
Hoopeston (Ill.) Area High School uses Cornjerkers. How does a cornjerker differ from the University of Nebraska's Cornhusker? Husking is the removal of the silk and husk from the ear of corn. Jerking is the removal of the ear of corn from the cornstalk. Hoopeston is known as the Sweetcorn Capital of the World.
Say it ain't so. Yuma (Ariz.) High School's mascot is Criminals. Honest. Way back in 1910, the school began holding classes in the cellblock area and prison hospital of the Yuma Territorial Prison which had been recently abandoned. The Yuma football team was first called Criminals by a rival school in Phoenix and by 1917 was officially adopted by Yuma.
North East (Pa.) School District goes with Grape Pickers due to fact that the grape is the primary cash crop for the region. Welch's has a juice factory there.
Lewisville (Texas) High School's mascot is the Fighting Farmers. On the town's water tower, there's a painted football player running with a pitchfork pointed straight ahead.
The Koncrete Kids are the designation of teams at Northampton Area (Pa.) High School. The area produces lots and lots of cement and concrete.
Perhaps the weirdest mascot is the Nimrods, the name given to the teams at Watersmeet (Mich.) High School. The name, chosen in 1904, refers to the Old Testament where Nimrod was a mighty hunter. Can't you just hear a coach screaming to his kids, "Now get out there and play like a bunch of Nimrods?"
Tarpon Springs (Fla.) High School has the Spongers as harvesting sponges from the ocean is big. Reckon their kids get heckled with, "Hey SpongeBob, nice pants?"
Teams at Steelton-Highspire (Pa.) are known as the Steamrollers. It seemed appropriate after football wins by scores on 112-0, 91-3, and 77-0 in the 1920s.
Winters (Texas) High School loves its Blizzards. The school's unofficial song is "Walking in a Winter Wonderland."
How bout them Hodags? That's the mascot at Rhinelander (Wisc.) High School. A Hodag is a mythical creature similar to a Tasmanian Devil.
Freeport (Ill.) High School's mascot is Pretzels. The town's two biggest money makers are pretzels and beer and Brewers wasn't going to make it as a high school mascot. The school's favorite cheer is, "You can eat us, but you can't beat us."
Meridian's basketball teams have played in the Zizzer Classic at West Plains (Mo.) High School, but what the heck is a Zizzer? It's symbolized by a lightning bolt.
Teutopolis (Ill.) High School's mascot is Wooden Shoes. It came about due to a rivalry with Neoga High School. Since the Dutch region schools don't have football teams, the basketball teams play twice each year for each other's homecoming. The winner at Teutopolis gets a gold wooden shoe. The winner at Neoga gets a silver shoe. The Teutopolis cheer is, "This is (boom, boom), This is Shoe Country, You Go Home."

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