Carbon High students dressed up in Dinosaur costumes during the Homecoming parade in September.
Mascot-wise, the Longhorn is no match for the Dino.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex has been extinct for over 65,000,000 years but its impact is still being felt in Price and across the state of Utah recently. Not by terrorizing people or going on a rampage, but by beating out other high school mascots across the state in a contest created to eventually find the best mascot in the country.
The Carbon High Dino mascot beat out other mascots from across Utah including the Davis Darts, Escalante Moquis, Jordan Beetdiggers and Manti Templars to be chosen as the Best Mascot in Utah in a contest run by the USA Today High School Sports. CHS Athletic Director Ted Bianco said the Dinos were down by 7,000 votes on Monday to Davis before mounting a frantic final rally to tally 33,402 votes to Davis' 28,308 in time for Tuesday's deadline.
Since hearing about the contest, Bianco said the school has rallied around the idea of helping to make the Dino mascot be known as not just the best in the state, but one of the most unique in the country.
"They've (CHS students) been really excited about the contest and helped rally to get enough votes at the last minute to win," said Bianco. "It's got everyone talking now and it shows deep down our kids have a lot of school spirit."
While the Dino mascot garners plenty of attention on its own for being unique, it is believed to be the only one of its kind across the nation. With that in mind, Carbon High students, staff, faculty and alumni are hoping that uniqueness will help in carrying the Dino to larger heights as the contest enters the second round. The Dino, one of 255 mascots from across the country chosen to participate in the contest, is currently matched up in Region 6 with other best mascots from western states including California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Hawaii and Alaska.
While the Dinos were able to beat out the Davis Darts, now they must face off against a different set of mascots including the Coalinga Horned Toads, the Gabbs Tarantulas, the Maui Prep Pueo, the Oregon Episcopal Aardvarks, the Orofino Maniacs, the Ridgefield Spudders, the Tikigaq Harpooners and the Yuma Criminals.
"They've got some weird mascots in this round, that's for sure," said Bianco. "However, I think the Dinosaur is as unique as any other school's mascot across the nation."
Carbon High School Principal Bruce Bean said he is familiar with the Orofino Maniacs after spending some time living in Idaho. In their profile on the USA Today High School Sports website, the Maniacs were given their name before the state built a psychiatric hospital in Orofino a short time later.
While the Dinos will have plenty of work to do against other mascots such as the Criminals, Spudders and Aardvarks, Bean said the contest provides a chance to show how the school, the students and the community can rally together in support of their one-of-a-kind mascot.
"We let the student body know about the contest recently and it's just taken off since then," said Bean. "It has kind of caught more fire and got the students interested than I thought it would."
Voting in the second round will continue through March 14 at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Those looking to support the Carbon High Dino can visit http://contest.usatodayhss.com/ to vote and read about the other mascots involved in the contest.
If the Carbon High Dino gets enough votes and beats out the other eight mascots in region voting, the Dino will advance to the national voting with six mascots from across the country in the final part of the voting that will take place from March 15-25.
The national winner of the contest will receive $2,000 for their athletic department. Second place would receive $1,000, third ($500), fourth ($250) and fifth ($100).
While the money would be nice, the notoriety of having your school's mascot named as the best in the nation would be worth so much more. Bianco explained that the Dino being named best in the state is a tremendous accomplishment and any success in the next round of voting would be even better.
"It's cool for our school to make it out of the state by being named the best mascot but it's going to get a lot more difficult in the next round," he said.
"There isn't another Carbon High Dino out there in the nation and you've got to be proud of that," said Bean. "We've got a very unique mascot and this is our chance to show the country about the power of the Carbon High Dino."