Know your Nimrods and Flivvers: A guide to Michigan’s bizarre mascots

You have to give this to Michigan: It sure does know how to bequeath weird mascots unto the world.

Nimrod Nation, once a TV show, now a model for prep fan bases everywhere — Sundance Channel
Nimrod Nation, once a TV show, now a model for prep fan bases everywhere — Sundance Channel

Of a large crop of strange and unique team monikers, the best in the Great Lake state is clearly the Watersmeet (Mich.) High Nimrods. The irony behind the Nimrods is that the school probably adopted the mascot for precisely the opposite reason of why people think it is so notable today.

As brought to Prep Rally’s attention by USA Today, a nimrod traditionally was a nickname given to a "king hunter," a man (or woman) with the ability to track down large prey and slay it singlehandedly. That skill was particularly important in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP), where hunting is more than just a sport; it’s one of the hallmarks of day-to-day life itself.

That’s probably why Watersmeet, a small, typical UP town, adopted the Nimrods as a particularly one-of-a-kind school mascot. Now, the team bears the moniker of a group of less-than-intelligent operators.


Luckily for Watersmeet athletes and fans, that hasn’t kept the public from lauding the Nimrods as the state’s best mascot, and one of the most beloved nationwide, so much so that they were once the subject of a Sundance Channel documentary series.

Other Great Michigan Mascots of Note:

If it weren’t for the Nimrods, Michigan would still have one heck of a battle over which schools presents the best mascot.

Ever heard of a Flivver? Probably not, but that’s just because it’s became an antiquated term that went out of style with the Charleston. A Flivver was originally a car with a rough ride, notably and often a Ford Model T. Given that Henry Ford’s operations were all based out of Michigan, Kingsford (Mich.) High’s choice of the Flivver as a mascot is a particularly prescient and historic one.

Ishpeming (Mich.) High couldn’t just play as the Miners as a nod to the area’s mining history. Oh no. Instead the school had to take on the moniker of the most rare mineral in the area, Hematite. Hence the Ishpeming Hematites, a mascot that could compete for a Scrabble score title any day.

If you’re going to name a school after a general, you ought to have a military mascot involved as well. Hence the Detroit (Mich.) John J. Pershing High Doughboys, a school named for a famed World War I general playing as a team dubbed after the nickname for soldiers who traveled abroad. Fitting indeed.

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