Mascot Madness generates crazy response

It did not take long for the madness to break out in Yuma School District-1’s Mascot Madness bracket.
The district had decided to use the bracket method, utilized by Arickaree last year to come up with Bison, to finally select a new mascot.

The initial plan was to accept nominations until Friday, August 25, then begin the bracket process on August 29.
The district released the nomination form on its website and Facebook page last Tuesday around noon. It quickly became apparent the process was going to have to be altered as there were 45 nominations in less than 24 hours.
Yuma-1 announced by mid-day Wednesday that the deadline for nominations was being moved up to last Friday, August 18.
A total of 96 nominations were submitted by the deadline. (There were a total of 155 submissiones, 153 via Google Docs, one dropped off at the district office, and one via email. District leaders determined 81 were valid, with 15 being rejected.
“Most of the ones that were a no-go were because of Native American connections,” Superintendent Dianna Chrisman said. The others were deemed inappropriate. “They weren’t really that bad, but it was just that there was no way.”
“I was excited so many people were excited about selecting a new mascot,” Chrisman said.
The superintendent noted that there were about 20 nominations when the district first tried the new mascot process in the fall of 2021, “so I was amazed we had 90.”
Yuma-1’s goal is to have a mascot selected prior to Homecoming Week in early October. However, Chrisman said it would take until next summer if a straight-up weekly bracket was used.
“We started thinking while we were looking at the list that they were in natural groupings anyway,” she said.
It was decided to put the nominations into 16 groups, which was released last Friday afternoon. Voting closes Friday, August 25, at 12 noon. The winners of each group will be put into a 16-mascot bracket, which will be released Tuesday, August 29. Voting will end that Friday, with the field whittled down to eight, with that bracket being released the following Tuesday, September 5. The Final 4 bracket will be out on September 12, and the finals two will be out on September 19, with the voting ending Friday, September 22.
Then Yuma-1, and the community, will have a new mascot.
Voting can be done using the Google form found at the Yuma-1 website or Facebook page, or one can send their picks to [email protected], or hand deliver your votes to the District Office at 1115 S. Ash St.
Voting in the 16-group pre-bracket has been hot and heavy since last Friday’s release. There had been 420 votes as of Tuesday morning with more than 75 hours left until this Friday’s 12 noon deadline. There are a lot of great nominations in the pre-bracket, but too numerous to list them all here.
The groups include weather events, wild animals, snakes, various names for marauding groups of people, Old West type description of people, stormy events, agriculture-related groups of people, four more groups of various animals, another ag-related grouping, birds, and various names of people and other creatures.
As most are aware, a law passed by the Colorado Legislature during the 2021 session gave schools with American Indian mascots until June 2022 to eliminate all imagery and wording, as monitored by the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs. School districts faced a hefty monthly fine if they did not meet the deadline. New mascots also were to be approved by the commission.
Yuma-1 successfully met all the eradication requirements. It also started a process early in the 2021-22 school year of having the public submit new mascot suggestions. The list eventually was whittled down to finalists.
However, the Yuma-1 Board finally voted early in 2022 to “just be Yuma” for the 2022–23 school year, and revisit it at a later date.