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Thoughts on sports: Where did the mascot come from?

By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

One of the many illustrations from the 1935 Carbon yearbook. It was during that school year that the school's mascot was changed from Miners to Dinosaurs.

I have to say that I never thought of it before that day last November when I was doing some research on the mining industry in old copies of the Sun Advocate, the News-Advocate and The Sun from the late 1920's and early 1930's.

I ran across a copy of a paper describing a basketball game between Jordan High and Carbon High and there it was; "In the end the Beetdiggers downed the Miners in a low scoring game."

Now having grown up in the Salt Lake valley I had a lot of friends who had been Beetdiggers in high school, and I also knew a number of Miners, but they were from Bingham High, named that obviously because of the Kennecott and Lark mine operations that had and still do operate there.

But what was that mention of Miners in relation to Carbon High? Weren't they always the Dinos, having the distinction of being the only high school in America with the Dinosaur mascot attached to their institution?

However when I thought about it, it only made sense to me. This area, and the coal mining deserved the term Miner for their mascot as much as anywhere.

So began a quest to find when the mascot of Carbon High left the realm of human being to that of an ancient lizard. I searched the papers up through the 1930's and found that the use of mascot names was not nearly as prevalent in the papers in those days as they are now. Today hardly an issue of the Sun Advocate goes by without mentioning the Dinos or Lady Dinos on the sports pages. But going through the old papers I could hardly find mention of the "new" mascot or even the old one. I just couldn't figure out which year it was changed. I even asked some of the people who are history buffs in the area and they didn't know.

Then I got smart and went to the College of Eastern Utah and looked through the old Carbon yearbooks in special collections. They are missing a few from the pre-Depression and Depression years, but they have most of them. I looked and looked...1929, no luck...1930 no change...1932, no mention of even the Miners....1934, no change. Then I came to 1935 and it was hard to miss it. The entire book was filled with Dinosaurs (not the people, the animal). There were drawings of various dinosaurs in swamps, with modern skyscrapers and with men putting petroglyphs on rocks. It was kind of a mixed up history, because 200 million years separate the homo sapiens from the dinosaurs, but nonetheless there it was. The change took place during the 1934-35 school year, but the only place it is really mentioned in the book is in a preamble to the football team where it stated that the "Carbon Miners became the Dinosaurs and under that name enjoyed a very unusual year in athletics."

At the beginning of the book there was also a tribute to miners; a kind of goodbye to the old mascot, but a tribute and realization of the people who made this area of the state thrive and prosper.

Why the name was changed, I have yet to find out. I still have some newspapers to search for that answer. But my feeling is that there were so many teams with the Miner name in the state (Bingham, Park City, Tintic and, of course, Carbon) at the time, the community wanted a more unique mascot.

And it was also about this time when the discovery of dinosaur fossils in the area really hit the national news.

Since then the Dinosaurs (when it was shortened to Dinos is anyones guess) have gone on into sports history with some fantastic teams and graduates who have had success in the world.

They have a lot to be proud of, those Miners and Dinos.





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