The new mascot is all over campus, but those associated with Dixie State University could always know more about the mascot and the bison.
The Trailblazer logo decorates street lamps, banners, and most students seem to have a red shirt with Brooks the Bison on it.
Some students, like Broox Anderson, a junior integrated studies major from Richfield, are hesitant to accept the new mascot. Anderson shares his first name with Brooks the Bison, and he said he considered transferring when he heard about the name of the new mascot.
“I really like the meaning behind [the Trailblazers],” said Tori Woodman, a sophomore nursing major from Castle Rock, Colorado. “It represents the community as well as our school.”
Clinton Buhler, an assistant humanities professor, said he is happy DSU has a symbol for people to rally around, even though he would have liked the Raptors better.
“The reasons schools have mascots is to get kids invested in the school long before they’re thinking of college, so that, when they graduate from high school, they feel some connection,” Buhler said.
Like many students, Woodman said she likes the new mascot but isn’t sure how the bison relates to the Trailblazers.
The donated bison
Jordon Sharp, chief marketing and communication officer, confirmed a ranch in Wyoming has, in fact, donated a real bison to DSU.
The donated bison is still in Wyoming while it is decided whether or not it would be realistic for the university to care for the animal, Sharp said.
“We are at the very beginning stages of looking into it, and we may not have the capability to do it, but we are going to try and see,” Sharp said.
President Biff Williams said there are volunteers to train the animal and a proposition to keep it at the Seegmiller Historic Farm.
“It would be fun to have a buffalo (sic),” Williams said. “I even asked around to see if you could just rent one for Homecoming and D-Week so you could just pet it.”
If a real bison can’t be donated, Williams said he would settle for the statue being erected outside of the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons building.
Bison or buffalo?
Woodman said she admits she doesn’t always remember if the mascot is a bison or a buffalo, and she isn’t alone. Williams also used the terms bison and buffalo interchangeably.
If you aren’t sure whether buffalo and bison are two names for the same animal, I’m here to tell you they aren’t.
The main difference is where they live. According to an article on Live Science by Jeanna Bryner, bison only live in North America while buffalo live in Asia and Africa. A bison also has a larger hump on its back and a more bulky head, Bryner wrote.
Oh, the drug references.
The second half of Trailblazer carries with it a double meaning, which, to the clever student, leaves the opportunity for some double entendres.
“Actually, we didn’t know what blazed meant, we had to look it up,” Williams said.
Despite the double meaning, school officials said they think the meaning behind the mascot is worth tolerating the joke.
“The double meaning of ‘blazers’ was a concern as we vetted and created the brand,” Sharp said. “We are confident the true meaning of the brand will trump any minor talking points.”
While some may not think it’s a big deal, some students worry the drug references will add to DSU’s party school image. Williams said the university’s reputation won’t be badly affected by the new mascot.
“If you look at our institution, it’s not a party school,” Williams said. “[DSU] got that reputation in the past because that’s where everybody spent spring break, and our institution is here.”
Despite the assurances by Williams and Sharp, if you look on social media, you are sure to find multiple jokes about the Trailblazers, especially from April 20.
Brooks the bison
Aside from Brooks and bison sharing the same first letter, the name of the bison also has historical significance.
The bison is named after Samuel Brooks, the first student to enroll at Dixie, according to the new children’s book, “A History of Trailblazers: A Bison’s Tale.” The story says Brooks slept on the stairs of the school in order to be the first student to enroll.
“The book … tells how our mascot received its name, and illustrates the great pioneer heritage of our school and community,” Sharp said. “[DSU] students visited each elementary school in Washington County where they read and distributed the book.”
Trailblazers vs. Trail Blazers
“Our university marketing and communication office was over the ‘tweet war,’ and the exchange proved to be [a] huge marketing win,” Sharp said.
You can’t buy this kind of publicity, Sharp said. He said it was the cherry on top of the public relations DSU had already strategized for the roll out.