For a relatively small state, Arkansas has a lot to work with when it comes to mascots. In fact, when you glance at the names of towns across the state, it’s hard not to immediately get caught up with Cave City, which, predictably, delivers the wonderful Cave City Cavemen moniker.
Still, the Cavemen are only second best in the Natural State because of the wonder of the Ozarks. Or the Ozark (Ark.) High Hillbillies, more precisely.
As noted by USA Today, the Hillbillies came to be in the 1930s, when the school tired of being called the Bulldogs and opted for a pictorial image they found more fitting with the region’s image.
The actual mascot depictions don’t let anyone down, either, with the Ozark Hillbilly shirtless, wearing denim overalls and carrying a shotgun with a huge beard and, naturally, a beat up 10-gallon hat.
While it’s nice to think of the school adopting the Hillbilly mascot completely organically, that may not entirely be the case. In fact, the visual Hillbilly bears a striking similarity to the mascot that the College of the Ozarks, an institution near Ozark High, used as the Mountaineers until the 1980s, when the Clarksville, Ark. school became the University of the Ozarks and adopted the Eagle as its mascot.
That leaves the Hillbillies all on their own representing the areas backwoods heritage. Something tells Prep Rally that Ozark fans are more than happy with that responsibility.
Arkansas is a veritable treasure trove of great mascots. In addition to the aforementioned Cavemen, check out the following offerings:
The Hermitage (Ark.) High Hermits got their name from their town’s name, but the mascot also feels genuine, right up to the point of the team’s extended nickname, the Hermitage Hustlin Hermits. Hermits don’t hustle, folks. That just isn’t right.
Alma (Ark.) High could use almost any mascot, and a name like Alma provides ample opportunities for alliteration. So why the Airedales? No one knows entirely, though the school’s student body reportedly chose to be the King of the Terriers in 1932.