Tim Nutt is the interim head of special collections and more at the University of Arkansas Libraries in Fayetteville. Previously, he served as the founding managing editor and staff historian of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture and has been an Arkansas history fanatic since he was 16. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAYETTEVILLE — With a new school year comes another season of football, and every Friday night from now until December we’ll see rivals meet on the field. Growing up, my school (Home of the Panthers) did not have a football team so we had to be content with watching basketball. The excitement was there, though, no matter what sport.
I was always curious as a youngster, and one thing that intrigued me was how schools chose their mascots. Some seem logical, such as the Ozark Hillbillies or the Belles of Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock (think of the 1945 movie starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman), but others are a little harder to figure out. Perhaps the mascots are chosen without a master plan, but I like to think that there is some forethought given.
In honor of the pigskin, this edition of “Are You Arkansavvy?” focuses on the more interesting football mascots of high schools around the state.
1. The Morrilton (Conway County) football team has an evil canine as its mascot. Perhaps its name is Lucifer or Beelzebub?
2. No, it’s not an “act,” when the Palestine-Wheatley School District (St. Francis County) athletes play, this mascot cheers them on.
3. The mascot of Warren (Bradley County) schools is okay and eats his lunch. I doubt, though, that he presses wildflowers (although he might cut down trees and watch Monty Python).
4 It’s all there in black and white, the Pine Bluff football team has this equine as its mascot.
5. Robinson High School’s (Pulaski County) mascot really is “representative” of its namesake.
6. Let’s hope the Mountainburg (Crawford County) football team doesn’t keep their mascot in a dungeon. That would get me fire-breathing mad.
7. I hear the Fountain Lake’s (Garland County) “hooded” mascot likes music and sometimes spits.
8. If you think really hard, this deer mascot for Elkins (Washington County) is pretty logical.
9. Many people say “who?”, when they are told of McGehee’s (Desha County) mascot.
10. If you run into the Fordyce (Dallas County) mascot, you’ll probably end up with red, itching, bumps on your legs.
1. Devil Dogs
3. Fightin’ Lumberjacks. Warren was a lumber boom town in the early part of the 20th Century so their mascot seems entirely appropriate.
5. Senators. Robinson in the Pulaski County Special School District is named after politician Joe T. Robinson, who served as the state’s governor and U.S. Senator. He was on the 1928 Presidential ticket as vice president to nominee Al Smith.
10. Redbugs (often called chiggers)