Have you ever wondered how schools go about choosing their nicknames and/or their mascots?

Because I have.

Where I grew up, my high school was home of the 'Bridgemen' ... whatever that means.

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In all seriousness, I soon realized we were called the 'Bridgemen' because my hometown is also home to the George Washington Bridge - the bridge that connects New Jersey and New York.

Pretty interesting, right?

Nevertheless, I decided to do a little research of my own to learn more about how some schools here in Northern Colorado got their nicknames.

Tradition runs deep in the schools here in NoCo, which is a common theme behind the reasoning for several schools' nicknames/mascots.

From long-running tradition to rich history, here are the 7 most interesting high school mascots in Northern Colorado:

1. The Fort Collins Lambkins (Fort Collins) - According to the Fort Collins High School website, the school's old mascot was a gentle lamb named Leroy - more recently portrayed with the tough and hungry face of Clyde. In either case, the school is proud to be home to the ONLY Lambkins in the country. "Fort Collins High School students will always share their sense of pride and achievement after having been a "Lambkin".

2. The Rocky Mountain Lobos (Fort Collins)  - Admittedly, this school's nickname initially peaked my interest because I had no idea what a lobo was. The Rocky Mountain High School website explains the following about how their school's nickname came to be: "Lobo, the Spanish name for timber wolf, is the fiercest member of the dog family (Canis Lupus).  This wolf will fight to the death to protect one of its pack members.  It is this great courage and loyalty that prompted the original Rocky Mountain High School student body to select the Lobo as our mascot." The students of Rocky Mountain High School are extremely proud to rock the Lobo Spirit.

3. The Poudre Impalas (Fort Collins) - Poudre High School is proud to boast their mascot, the Impala, as it is the only school in the United States with the animal as its mascot: ""In our showcase, displaying itself proud and beautiful, is the symbol of our school, “The Impala.” Its slim erect head watches our progress with soft yet determined eyes. He leads us into competition with a power and spirit unequaled by any other mascot’s. He leads us home in victory proudly. Because the Impala is proud, determined, and the possessor of unquenchable spirit, so are we, the bearers of the name Impala."  Fun fact: a real Impala donated back in 1966 by a man named Dr. Parke is proudly displayed in the school's front hallway.

4. The Eaton Reds (Eaton) - Did you know that, although Eaton High School opened in 1909, the school didn't have a mascot until 1966? At the time, athletic coach and P.E. teacher, Ken Ridgley used the term “red” as his inspiration to make the school's mascot a Native American (there is a lot of history when it comes to the Eaton schools and the Native American Mascot, according to the school's website). The name `Fightin’ Reds’ was given to the Eaton athletic teams based on the colors of the jerseys due to the school not having a mascot for several years. Eaton was identified by other sports teams by the letter E, until there was a mascot implemented. In October 2020, the Eaton School District decided they would some adjustments including picking a different mascot or logo for Eaton; the community back in October was given the opportunity to weigh in on a new mascot, the red hawk. In November, after a long and informative conversation about what's best for the Eaton community, the district board determined it is in the best interest of the town to not establish a new mascot at all.

5. The Fossil Ridge Sabercats (Fort Collins) - In the fall of 2003, a select committee composed of future students, parents, and community members of Fossil Ridge engaged in a consensus decision process to determine the school's colors and mascot. After receiving substantial input from the entire committee followed by lengthy discussion, the group selected Fossil Ridge's colors as Hunter Green, Silver, and Black, while having established the school's mascot as the SaberCat. Fossil Ridge High School calls their mascot 'Fang'.

6. The Windsor Wizards (Windsor) - The Wizards were known as the Bulldogs long before they became the Wizards; according to the Coloradoan, with decrepit facilities and pitiful teams, Fort Collins, Greeley and Longmont high schools were ready to kick Windsor out of its league during the 1920s. Windsor, formerly known as the Bulldogs, was given one last chance to prove their worth during the 1923 athletic season by improving facilities and winning at least one league game. With a newly hired coach and the strong desire to beat its opponents, the Windsor boy's basketball team wound up attacking its local rivals, winning every league game including victories of 24-9 and 26-10 over Greeley and 22-9 and 21-13 over Fort Collins. Windsor ended up going all the way to win the state title in 1923 before winning the regional tournament. Over the next year, the Bulldogs had earned themselves some good press - the Poudre Valley newspaper, now known as the Windsor Beacon, started referring to the basketball team as wizards in March 1924. The boy's basketball team went on to win the championship game during the 1924 basketball season, which ultimately acted as the turning point from the team being known as the Bulldogs, to now being referred to as the Wizards. The story on the national championship in The Poudre Valley on April 5, 1924, read, "The cleanest, fastest and smoothest basketball exhibition ever seen in Chicago is the word that came by radio Saturday night concerning the playing of the Windsor Wizards." Wizards - capitalized for good.

7. The Roosevelt Rough Riders (Johnstown) - For all you history buffs, we're not talking about the diverse group of people Theodore Roosevelt put together during the 1800s here. Regardless of the history behind this high school's nickname, it's blatant that The “Rough Rider” spirit and tradition of excellence lives within the Roosevelt community.

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