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Mascots for high schools and universities create a sense of school spirit and encourage the student body and surrounding community to promote that specific institution. All across Arkansas, high schools and universities take pride in their mascots, and there are a lot of them. Out of 314 high schools, 18 of them have an eagle as their mascot.
Everyone knows the most significant school mascot in Arkansas, the Razorback at the University of Arkansas. There are so many more interesting mascots out there, like the Dardenelle Sand Lizards, The Fighting Lumberjacks of Warren and Rogers Mountaineer. Seven schools in the state are the Yellowjackets. To show their pride and love for their mascots, schools create amazing and intricate statues to greet the student body, faculty, staff and visitors to their campuses.
Otis the Bear hangs on the side of the University of Central Arkansas’ Donaghey Hall. It was created by Bryan Massey, Professor of Art/Sculpture at UCA. Otis is made from pure steel and was named after Massey’s favorite character from the ‘60s sitcom, “The Andy Griffith Show.”
UCA has another statue of its mascot, the black bear, outside of Wingo Hall. It only took four days, but Gary Keenan, a sculptor from Iowa, shaped a tree into a life-sized black bear for the UCA campus. This carved black bear, named Valor II, replaced the first Valor that was removed due to decay. Valor I was carved from one of UCA’s World War II red oak Memorial Trees.
What’s a Wampus Cat? A fictional blue and black cat with six legs. Two legs are meant for fighting, while the other four are used for running at the speed of light. In 2013, a bronze statue of a Wampus Cat was installed outside of the James H. Clark Auditorium at Conway High School. From head to tail, the statue is six feet long.
In 1928, then President John Brown Watson gathered the student body together at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to choose a mascot. Many ideas were thrown around, like an owl because they are so wise, but at the end of the discussion, it was decided that they would be the Golden Lions. There are many lion statues that were placed outside of buildings and at the entrance of the campus to welcome students and visitors.
Outside of the Bald Knob Middle School sits a great and mighty bulldog proudly wearing a blue jersey. Another bulldog sits under the flagpole at the entrance to the Bald Knob High School and is dedicated to the graduating class of 2004.
Numa the Lion sits outside of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith’s Stubblefield Center. Atop a five-foot stand, Numa the Lion is 15 feet long. When it was first unveiled in 2010, Numa was the largest leaping lion in the world.
The Arkansas Baptist College Buffalo greets students, faculty and guests as they enter campus. The buffalo statue sits outside of the administration building, Old Main. Old Main was completed in 1893 and still stands as the oldest building on campus.
The Mountain Home Bombers definitely have a unique mascot. The bomber mascot came to be in 1939 when the first Mountain Home High School football team saw a large, low-flying plane in the sky while they were practicing. Since the 1990s, a retired U.S. Navy F-8 Corsair has been out front of the high school, where it came up through the Mississippi River to Memphis, Tennessee and was then flown by helicopter to the school and the wings were then shipped separately by a truck.
Just outside of the Devil Dogs Stadium in Morrilton, Arkansas, is the Devil Dog statue standing high and proud. Morrilton chose the Devil Dog as their mascot in 1926 based on a gargoyle statue that stood at the school at that time.
In 2021, the Red Wolf statue on Aggie Circle at Arkansas State University was named “Tiago.” The name was suggested by fellow students at Campus Queretaro in Mexico and reflects where Tiago was from and A State’s close relationship with the campus there. The statue was installed in 2017 but was named in 2021 to honor the first graduating class from Campus Queretaro in spring 2021.
Although it is not a statue of their mascot, Arkansas State University in Jonesboro has a sculpture of HOWL on its campus. The statue was a second gift from Beth Damphouse, former First Lady of the university, in 2019.
Did we miss your favorite school mascot statue? Let us know in the comments! Also, check out Unique Arkansas Sculptures.
Cover photo courtesy of Fayetteville Flyer.
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