Something about fall brings out memories of football games and school days. This column by Duluth News Tribune reporter Louie St. George III about funniest school mascot names got me thinking, what is the most unusual or distinct mascot in northern Minnesota?
Like a lot of places we’ve got various birds and animals. I was a Cherry Tiger. Kids down the road from me were Eveleth-Gilbert Golden Bears. Unsurprisingly, the Iron Range mining towns of Mt. Iron-Buhl and Crosby-Ironton both have the nickname “Rangers.” Over in Grand Rapids they adopted the name Thunderhawks almost 20 years ago after their old “Indians” name was retired out of respect to Native Americans. And, believe it or not, they’re still arguing about that.
“Blue” is a common inspiration. Virginia has the Blue Devils and Chisholm has the Bluestreaks. Hibbing, of course, has the Bluejackets, complete with a nautical theme. How did this inland, land-locked Iron Range town end up with a seafaring name? You can credit a retired naval officer who served as Hibbing’s superintendent during the city’s early years. He acquired surplus Navy pea coats for students to use as letter jackets and the name soon followed.
So, that’s interesting, but not in an endlessly hilarious sort of way. For that I would turn to my friends to the south, the Aitkin Gobblers. Yes, turkeys. But they aren’t the Turkeys, they’re the Gobblers. It’s a funny word on its own, but the city’s name “Aitkin” is half vowel and has a hard “K” sound — ensuring that it will amplify the funny of any naturally funny word.
What are your nominations for funniest school mascot names? Or the ones with the most interesting story?
(For instance, I went to college with a girl from Illinois whose school mascot was the “Pretzels.” The name came from an old Bavarian woman who would make fresh pretzels for the football games in the early days. Problem was, my friend was on the swim team and she said the swim suits contained a not-so-subtle pretzel directly over the bottom).