Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Winona Winhawks lose to Orphans in regionals as national mascot competition advances March 21, 2013

WinhawksMINNESOTA HIGH SCHOOL sports fans, the results are in, and the Winona Winhawks are not advancing in USA TODAY‘s competition to name the country’s “best” high school mascot.

The Centralia Orphans of Centralia, Illinois, claimed the Region 4 title on Wednesday with 43.482 percent (more than 5.4 million) of the vote compared to the Winhawks’ 30.788 percent (more than 3.8 million). You can click here to view detailed Region 4 results.

Online voting for the national title begins at 11 a.m. ET today (March 21) and ends at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 27. Click here to vote.

These regional winners are now vying for prizes ranging from $100 – $2,000 for their high school’s athletic departments:

  • Region 1: Kingswood Oxford Wyverns of West Hartford, Connecticut
  • Region 2: Key Obezags of Annapolis, Maryland
  • Region 3: St. Mary’s Episcopal School Turkeys of Memphis, Tennessee
  • Region 4: Centralia Orphans of Centralia, Illinois
  • Region 5: Chinook Sugarbeeters of Chinook, Montana
  • Region 6: Carbon Dinos of Price, Utah
Chinook Sugarbeeters mascot

Chinook Sugarbeeters mascot

Just FYI because I did not know, and you probably don’t either, a Wyvern is a legendary poison-breathing creature that is part dragon, eagle and snake. Obezags is an anagram of gazebos, a feature of the Key School campus.

Which mascot would you choose as the most unique/best?

Even though I live in Region 4, I’m going with the Sugarbeeters of Chinook, Montana, population 1,500. Chinook Sugarbeeters rolls off my tongue with a rural ring that pleases me. And that’s as good a reason as any to back a community which once was home to a massive sugarbeet factory, according to the Chinook Area Chamber of Commerce website.

The Chamber also states that Jay Leno once claimed the Sugarbeeters ranked as number two out of 100 “strangest mascots” in the U.S.

Whichever mascot wins, I hope the national online voting process is not plagued with technical problems and the unsportsman-like conduct of the regional rounds. Click here to read my previous post on those issues.

Let’s keep this all in perspective, people. Better to lose than to resort to name-calling and mean-spirited competition.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling