From the black/gold Bison, to the red/white Panther to the purple Jackrabbit, each school has an animal for which to root.
What’s in a name? Well, here are the stories behind those animals they call themselves.
Before being called the Lonoke Jackrabbits, the school teams were known as the Acorns.
In May 1920, the five-member Lonoke High School track team along with their principal and trainer traveled on a Union Pacific train to the All-West Track Meet in Boulder, Colo., according to panels in the Lonoke High School lobby. The team won a second-place trophy.
“As they were traveling home and watching from the rear-coach observation platform, the team noticed hundreds of odd creatures resembling miniature kangaroos with ears almost as long as their legs racing the train and keeping up for short distances,” according to the panels.
The conductor told the team they were watching jackrabbits, so the team decided that because of the speed of the animals, the jackrabbit should become their mascot.
Until 1923, Carlisle’s sport teams were just called Carlisle.
Mike Calvert, Carlisle Alumni Association president, said the association knows Carlisle had sports teams during the early 1900s, because they have a picture of the 1907 girls basketball team. But, he said, the teams didn’t have a mascot. They were just called Carlisle.
According to a 1989 interview in the Carlisle Independent, John Colclasure, a member of the 1923 football team, said during the 1923 season, the coach, Bernard Bruce, told the team he was proud of the way they played, and they charged like bison. At the end of the season, Calvert said, players received a white sweater with a bison sewn on it. Carlisle High School sports teams have been called the Bison ever since.
Calvert said the team defeated North Little Rock, Brinkley, Des Arc and Stuttgart. He said that team would have been undefeated that year, but they tied with McCrory. Calvert said Colclasure remembered at the game against Brinkley, Carlisle won 76 to zero, and every member of the team scored a touchdown.
According to the article, Colclasure remembered football didn’t have time-outs, and they played 30-minute halves. They wore a sweater, pants and socks with no shoulder pads or helmets. He also remembered they purchased their own shoes and put cleats on them.
Before Cabot was called the Panthers, they were called the Pirates.
In the early days of the school system, the Pirates were the mascot, and purple and gold were the school colors, Mike Polston, director of the Cabot High School museum, said.
But, by the 1930s, he said, the mascot was changed to the Panthers, and by the late 1940s, the school colors had become red and white.
Polston said the fiber glass Panther that was mounted on a rock by the old gym was moved inside the high school to preserve it.