Kentucky’s best moniker doesn’t have a mane; it’s a Briar Jumper

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally
The Somerset Briar Jumpers are proud of Cecil the hopper —
The Somerset Briar Jumpers are proud of Cecil the hopper —

When you think of Kentucky and mascots, you think of horses. Right? What is the Bluegrass state if the epicenter of horse country?

While there are a handful of horse-related mascots in different corners of the state, Kentucky’s best mascots had nothing to do with the equestrian fields whatsoever. Rather, the state’s best is a nod to nursery rhymes.

The Somerset (Ky.) High Briar Jumpers represent a school that was one of the state’s first to host a varsity football team. Additionally, the Briar Jumpers are an obvious nod to the state’s various briar patches, the physical representation of Peter Rabbit episodes, among others.


As noted by USA Today, Somerset’s Briar Jumper mascot is named Cecil, who garbs himself up in the school’s colors of purple and gold. That’s not quite natural fur, but it’s still a good look in a state which most people associate with horse racing and basketball.

Other Great Kentucky Mascots of Note:

If the Briar Jumpers are the clear cut winners in any debate over the state’s best mascot, the Valkyries are the run away winners for the second best mascot prize.

Louisville (Ky.) Sacred Heart School became the Valkyries in 1959, in response to fellow state field hockey power Louisvlle (Ky.) Collegiate High. The Valykrie nod was fitting not only because Valykries were legendarily both immortal and powerful, but also because they are, by definition, female, a natural moniker to be inspired by a feminine squad.

The Briar Jumpers celebrate a regional crown — Somerset.KYSchools.US
The Briar Jumpers celebrate a regional crown — Somerset.KYSchools.US

The Louisville (Ky.) Lloyd Memorial High Juggernauts are not the most creative name, but the conditions of the school when the mascot was bequeathed make it more than notable: Lloyd Memorial had just single digits in its graduating classes.

Don’t even try to understand why Park Hills (Ky.) Notre Dame High is the Pandas. They just are. Of course, being an all-girls Catholic school doesn’t hurt that matter, either, when students are making the final decisions about mascot issues.

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