With a confident lead of nearly 25,000 votes, the Rhinelander Hodag surpassed his fellow state competitors on Tuesday to continue into round two of the Most Unique High School Mascot competition, presented by USA TODAY. Accumulating over 80,000 votes by the time the polls closed, the Hodag beat out fellow Wisconsin mascots including the Ashland Oredockers, Kaukauna Galloping Ghosts, Kimberly Papermakers and Mellen Granite Diggers.
Rhinelander’s favorite ferocious beast continues his quest to become the nation’s best high school mascot in the regional round that began Wednesday, March 6. The 51 winning mascots from the first round are divided into six regions based on geographical location. Representing the Midwest, along with the Hodag, are eight other mascots including the Centralia Orphans from Centralia, Ill.; Kenmare Honkers from Kenmare, N.D.; Mitchell Kernels from Mitchell, S.D.; Northeast Dubois Fighting Jeeps from Dubois, Ind.; Roland-Story Norsemen from Story City, Iowa; Shenandoah Zeps from Sarahsville, Ohio; Winona Winhawks from Winona, Minn.; and perhaps the Hodag’s biggest competition, the Watersmeet Nimrods from Watersmeet, Mich.
The winners of the regional round will then compete in the third and final round for the opportunity to be named the best high school sports mascot in America beginning on March 15. Upon the competition’s closure on March 25, a cash prize of $2,000 will be awarded to the first place high school’s athletic department, $1000 to the second, $500 to the third, $250 to the fourth and $100 to the fifth place winner.
The success of the Hodag now lies in the community’s hands. In order to pull ahead of the other eight mascots in the region, residents of the city and state will have to stand behind the Hodag and keep voting to push ahead of the competition. School District of Rhinelander Community Education Coordinator Kim Swisher said, “Our challenge in winning the regional competition is tough! We’re competing against multiple states and they have rallied their school, their community-and their state! Hopefully, Hodags from around the world will rally and show that we truly are the nation’s best mascot.” In the second day of round two, the Hodag has already received over 50,000 votes. With seven days left of voting in the regional round, every vote for Rhinelander’s mascot counts.
Voting for the regional round runs through March 14.
To vote for the Hodags in the second round, visit http://contest.usatodayhss.com/.