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Sports and Recreation

In Play with Craig Mattick: High School Mascots

High School Mascots Podcast

Lions and Tigers, and Bears – oh my. Mascots have been part of school pride for a very long time, and in South Dakota – it’s no different. Jerry Miller, who wrote the book ‘South Dakota High School Mascots, Nicknames & Logos Past and Present’ joined the program to discuss some of the trends he’s seen with mascots in the Mt. Rushmore State.

The most common mascot in South Dakota is Tigers, twelve schools use it, and then next is the Eagles, who is used by five schools in the state.

And then there are some mascots that are a little more unique… take the Mitchell Kernels for example. And while most connect Kernels to the Corn Palace, Miller says the Kernel nickname actually has nothing at all to do with corn.

“When they first started basketball, [Mitchell] had to order uniforms and they didn’t have money. A guy by the name Kernel bought the uniforms and that’s how they came up with the name Kernels,” explained South Dakota mascot historian Jerry Miller.

The Rapid City Cobblers aren’t named after corn either. They too are named after a person – Euclid ‘Euc’ Cobb, who back in the days of Rapid City high school served as a longtime coach and athletic director for the school.

Pine Ridge’s mascot, the Thorpes is also named after a person – Jim Thorpe. He was the first Native American to win a gold medal for the United States in the Olympic Games.

For some, mascots may seem generic, but the stories behind them are always deeper than they appear on the surface.

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