Chart toppers: Best mascots
Best area mascots, courtesy Marcus Jackson
Hoopeston Area Cornjerkers
If you've been to a Hoopeston athletic event, you've no doubt seen Jerky, their gem of a mascot. According to the school's website, the nickname started as a joke by former Commercial-News sports writer Bob Poisall, as a nod to the corn-shucking folks in the sweet corn capital, and is now one of the most famous monikers in the country.
This nickname is so rare and unique that ESPN decided to embark on the tiny Champaign County community in 2008 to do a feature for its E:60 program. The name stuck after a couple of basketball players on an underdog Fisher team placed a rabbit's foot on their belts for good luck. A popular refrain in Fisher is: "It's better to be a Bunny than to get beaten by one."
What is a Rajah, you ask? Well, it's an Indian king or prince, of course. It's female counterpart is called a Rajene. The way the boys' basketball team gets up and down the court makes you wonder if said Indian princes could run fast and far.
Arcola Purple Riders
Believe it or not, the Arcola sports teams aren't the only ones in the country that go by the nickname. Martins Ferry High School in Ohio is known as the Purple Riders. What exactly is a Purple Rider? It's kind of a cool way to say Cowboy. Makes sense, since the Arcola logo is a guy wearing a cowboy hat atop a horse.
Loren Tate is a Sage, not because he's a wise old man, but because he's a graduate of the Piatt County school. A Sage is actually an owl, and it's actually a lot cooler than just saying "owl." The athletic departments at Temple and Rice should take note.