ST. GEORGE – As the sun is about to rise over a new season of football at Dixie State University Thursday, so too will it shine on the first appearance of the university’s new mascot, Brooks the Bison.
The costumed mascot will be making his debut Thursday evening at Legend Solar Stadium at the season-opening game between the Dixie State Trailblazers and New Mexico Highlands.
“There is a palpable and renewed excitement at Dixie State University as students, faculty, staff and the community have embraced the new Trailblazer identity,” Dr. Jordon Sharp, Dixie State chief marketing and communication officer said in a statement. “Brooks the Bison hats, T-shirts and swag have been flying of bookstore shelves, and we are all ready to finally meet this great symbol of our trailblazing spirit and heritage.”
While logos and iconography related to Dixie State’s burly bovine were introduced to the public last April, this will be the first appearance of the mascot costume.
Brooks the Bison and the rest of the Trailblazers motif taken on by Dixie State were the final results of a 17-month process to give the university a new athletic identity. With the feedback of various stakeholder groups, the aid of a consulting firm and a public opinion poll, university officials settled on the Trailblazers and unveiled the new identity April 11 during D-Week.
The mascot is named after Samuel Brooks, the first student of the St. George Stake Academy in 1911. Over the next century, the academy would ultimately become Dixie State University.
Dixie State officials have said the bison were North America’s original trailblazers, as the paths they cut through the wilderness were used by Native Americans and later by pioneers during migrations westward.
The new identity was met with cheers when unveiled April 11. The former identity, that of the Red Storm, wasn’t as well-received by the public and was even outright hated by some following its replacement of Dixie State’s longstanding Rebels moniker in 2009.
In contrast, the death of the Red Storm was seemingly celebrated with the adoption of the Trailblazers and Brooks the Bison as the new identity and mascot.
Legend Solar co-founders Shaun Alldredge and Shane Perkins will also be recognized during the season opener for their $10 million contribution toward renovating the university’s football stadium. Additionally, Dixie State’s newly named and re-organized student section, The Stampede, will make their debut.
Entering its first game as the Trailblazers, the team will be led by coach Shay McClure, who begins his first season as DSU head coach after serving as director of defense last season. McClure is joined by offensive coordinator Reilly Murphy and defensive coordinator Shawn Howe on a staff that features four returning coaches from last season and eight newcomers to the staff for the 2016 season.
Tickets for Thursday’s game are now on sale at dsutix.com or in the Avenna Center Ticket Office. They can also be purchased at Legend Solar Stadium on game day.
For a full schedule of athletic events, visit the Dixie Athletics website.
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