In an upset, Idaho’s best mascot is not potato-based

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Idaho is a big state, but it’s population is more in like with Connecticut; for all it’s picturesque landscapes, mountain ranges and idyllic streams, Idaho doesn’t have a wealth of high schools.

Best gym ever? Got to be in Orofino, Idaho —
Best gym ever? Got to be in Orofino, Idaho —

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the state isn’t home to any unique mascots. It has a few true gems, and one that is irrepressible.

That irrepressible mascot, as any Idaho native will tell you, is the Orofino (Id.) High Maniacs. They are America’s only officially sanctioned Maniacs, and have managed to become a beloved institution despite some questionable links with a state psychiatric hospital across Orofino.

In fact, according to USA Today, the Orofino psychiatric hospital has nothing to do with Orofino’s name. Instead, the Maniacs were named by opposing fans all the way back in 1927, when enraged Kamiah fans said that a visiting Orofino basketball squad that was playing in makeshift uniforms – they forgot their road uniforms back in Orofino -- looked and played like "a bunch of Maniacs."

Boom. There’s your mascot.


There are surely other schools in the nation that have been unintentionally named by opposing fans. Yet something tells us few, if any, have been able to glean nicknames as unique as “Maniacs”. When you get a gem like that, you run with it.

That’s precisely what Orofino did, which is why we can all celebrate the Maniacs as Idaho’s best, even better than its potatoes.

Other Great Idaho Mascots of Note:

If it weren’t for the Maniacs, Idaho’s best mascot would literally be a potato.

The Shelley (Id.) High Russets are named in honor of Russet potatoes, and have even featured mascots wearing potato sacks. The most recent incarnation of the Russet mascot allegedly involves a full potato suit that they intend to look mean. Good luck with that.

The Kuna (Id.) High Kavemen would probably get credit for being the Kuna Cavemen, too -- alliteration doesn’t have to start with the same letter, after all -- but dubbing themselves the Kavemen is a bit more original, even if it does reinforce poor spelling at an educational institution.

Ever heard of Cutthroat Trout? They’re delicious. In Idaho, they’re also incredibly prominent in lakes and streams, which is how they ended up as the mascot for Sun Valley (Id.) Community School. You’d be hard pressed to find a tastier mascot anywhere in the West, and certainly not in Colorado.

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