Savage Heat, Wingnuts and Artichokes

By Beacon Staff

Real Clear Sports, an excellent and easily navigable Web site for all things athletic, recently released its Top 10 Weirdest Mascots list. Big Red of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers is among those honored. Big Red is a fat, red blob that loves to give powerful “thumbs ups.” Fair enough. Then there is the unofficial mascot for Stanford University. It’s a bug-eyed conifer tree with no arms and questionable balance. Indeed, these are fine choices, but I have compiled my own list of bizarre team names, some that are accompanied by mascots and others that stand strong by themselves. The list takes us from Hot Springs, Mont., to Thailand, so here we go.

One of my favorite team names has always been the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes. According to the school’s Web site, the campus is currently orchestrating a sustainability drive called “SCC is going green. Are you?” And there on the logo is an exuberant, grinning artichoke. The school has taken “going green” to whole new, leafy levels and if the goal of mascots is to incite fear in the hearts of opponents, I can’t think of many things more intimidating than a 7-foot artichoke with a huge mouth.

I must also pay homage to the Webster University Gorloks. The Gorlok, of uncertain origin, is reputed to have the paws of a speeding cheetah, the horns of a fierce buffalo and the face of a dependable Saint Bernard. Also, according to reports, the Gorlok is quite excited about cross country season.

My sympathy goes out to the students at Watersmeet High School, who are known as the Nimrods. I think I would rather be one of the Key School Obezags, or maybe a proud member of the Wichita Wingnuts. But I’m not sure how I would feel about playing soccer for the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly. People might get the wrong idea about my intentions, and I’d be pretty winded by halftime.

Some teams amplify the weirdness of their names by offering an even weirder mascot. The UC-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs come to mind. Also, we can’t forget about Zippy the Kangaroo, Otto the Orange or the Mad Ant, a hulking figure that looks like Barry Bonds with a satanic bug head. And what about Stomper? Stomper is an elephant representing the Oakland Athletics, a curious relationship. According to Stomper’s profile, he is 6 feet 6 inches, weighs one ton and, apparently, loves peanuts.

Which brings us to Montana. Here is the list of my favorites in no particular order. Many are aptly Montanan, like the Rustlers, Loggers and Prospectors:

-Hot Springs Savage Heat
-Lame Deer Morning Stars
-Lincoln Lynx
-Libby Loggers
-Troy Trojans
-Shelby Coyotes
-Bigfork Valkyries
-Philipsburg Prospectors
-Big Timber Sheepherders
-C.M. Russell Rustlers
-Havre Blue Ponies
-Laurel Locomotives
-Butte Central Maroons
-Ronan Maidens

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