While there are thousands of schools scattered across the country, the same mascots show up over and over again: Lions, eagles, vikings and panthers are just a few to make the list. But not every school stayed true to the norm in selecting an icon to showcase its spirit and pride.
From salty snacks to baby dolls, we've put together a list of 13 of America's oddest mascots:
1. Grape Pickers — North East High School (North East, Pennsylvania)
Within Pennsylvania, which is ranked as one of the largest grape producers in the U.S., the borough of North East is surrounded by wineries, is home to Welch's, and is specifically known for its fruit economy. So it's no surprise that the high school embraced such a prominent piece of its roots by showing its Picker pride.
2. Pretzels — New Berlin Jr/Sr High School (New Berlin, Illinois)
At many schools, pretzels are usually snacks spectators munch on while watching sporting events from the bleachers. For New Berlin High School in Illinois, they're the symbol of school pride. But no one seems to know for sure how they came about.
One incorrect rumor, Principal Hattie LLewellyn told local radio station WLDS, was that there used to be a pretzel factory nearby. Others attribute it to a reporter in the early 1900s who said basketball players were "running around like pretzels," or a reporter who saw New Berlin players throwing pretzels at each other during a game and called them "The Pretzel Throwers," WLDS reported. But regardless of where it came from, it seems the salty mascot is here to stay.
3. Obezags — The Key School (Annapolis, Maryland)
Never heard of an Obezag? Don't sweat it — most sports teams who come to play at the Annapolis, Maryland, Key School haven't, either. The name is an anagram of "Gazebos," a nod to the three structures the school has around its campus, according to the Capital Gazette. And while it's not the school's official mascot — and instead just a well-known nickname — it's certainly unique.
4. Millionaires — Williamsport Area High School (Williamsport, Pennsylvania)
Who wants to be a millionaire? For one, Williamsport Area High School. But the wealthy mascot isn't meant to reflect the city's current financial status — it's meant to uphold its history.
The name dates back to the late 1800s, when the small Pennsylvania city had the most millionaires per capita in the world, thanks to a booming lumber industry, according to PennLive. The school was built around the same time, in 1869, but until the 1930s, its sports teams experimented with mascots including the Wolverines, the Black Shirts and the Billtowers, according to MaxPreps.
5. Kewpies — Hickman High School (Columbia, Missouri)
Hickman High School's mascot may have been around for more than a century, but the mascot itself isn't old at all — it's a baby. And not just any baby, either.
The Kewpies began as baby Cupid comic strip characters and were eventually made and sold as dolls and figurines. One first appeared in the school's yearbook in 1914. How it got there in the first place? No one really knows for sure. But the school's athletic director told NBC affiliate KOMU that at a sports game during the 1913-14 school year, someone said players who had just lost badly were "smiling like Kewpies." The name has stuck around ever since.
6. Papermakers — Camas High School (Camas, Washington)
Camas High School's mascot is a lean, mean paper-rolling machine. Mean Machine — yes, that is its official name — is the face of the Papermakers, which trace back to the town's beginnings with making paper goods in the late 1800s, according to the Deseret News.
Some have taken a stand against the name, suggesting changes like shortening it to the "Makers." But in a February opinion piece in Lacamas Magazine, writer Ernie Geigenmiller supported keeping the name: "We’re a mill town, and that’s OK," he wrote. "Let’s celebrate it. Use Papermakers."
7. Galloping Ghosts — Kaukauna High School (Kaukauna, Wisconsin)
At Kaukauna High School, students and staff members have Halloween spirit year-round. The Galloping Ghosts have been scaring away the competition since the 1920s, the district says, but two potential stories leave the mascot's true origin a mystery.
One possibility, according to the public library, is another sports writer's nickname. The other comes from a former football coach, who wanted his players to be like Red Grange, a famous halfback nicknamed "The Galloping Ghost."
8. Atom Smashers — Johnson High School (Savannah, Georgia)
Only a handful of mascots have been featured as part of a question on Jeopardy, but Johnson High School made the short list for its widely known, unconventional mascot: the Atom Smasher.
A sculpture near the school building represents the concept of atom smashing: Atop a brick pedestal is an arm clutching a hammer- or gavel-like object that's about to strike a spiky object held by a second hand. The spike is pointed at an atom. According to the school's website, the pieces represent leadership, academic achievement, athletic excellence and honor.
9. Meloneers — Rocky Ford High School (Rocky Ford, Colorado)
The nation's only school with a Meloneer mascot lies in Rocky Ford, Colorado, a city that sits some three hours outside of Denver. The city is known as the "Sweet Melon Capital of the World," but it got its name thanks to the school's 1923 student body, then-Athletic Director Chuck Smithey told the Denver Post. How sweet!
10. Awesome Blossoms — Blooming Prairie High School (Blooming Prairie, Minnesota)
There's a pretty long history surrounding how the Awesome Blossom grew to be this school's mascot. In the early 1900s, when Blooming Prairie High School would travel to nearby Austin for sports matches, they were known as "the boys from blossom town," according to the University of Minnesota.
There were multiple attempts to change the name, but in the late 1960s, a student planted the seed for its current mascot. In an art class, Tom Ressler redrew the blossom with a scarier face, calling it an "Awesome Blossom."
11. Poca Dots — Poca High School (Poca, West Virginia)
Though they may conjure up images of the clothing print or the dance, make no mistake — these dots are much more intimidating. They've brought national attention to Poca, a small West Virginia town with about 1,000 residents, which used to feature an American Indian as its mascot. But according to a website chronicling school mascots, things changed in 1928, when a then-sports writer at the Charleston Gazette suggested a new, pun-filled nickname: the Poca Dots.
12. Webb Feet — The Webb School (Bell Buckle, Tennessee)
While the The Webb School is nearly 150 years old, its current mascot has only been around since the 1970s, according to USA Today. Its original mascot, the Scholar, was named after William Robert Webb, who founded the school in 1870. But a century later, the "highly creative and outgoing" student body pioneered its new, more unconventional and pun-filled replacement: the Webb Feet.
13. Kernels — Mitchell High School (Mitchell, South Dakota)
This city is all about corn. Not only is the crop scattered all over the city, but several parts of the town use it as a namesake in some way. The local AM radio station is KORN, and the city's most advertised tourist destination is the Corn Palace, which is decorated in corn murals and houses concerts and other local events, including Mitchell High School's indoor sporting events, according to MaxPreps.