Messenger photo by Pat Donahue
The new mascot for West High School, Westin, is welcomed by senior cheerleader Alyson Scott. The Athletic Boosters Association of West High School purchased the mascot in hopes of raising school spirit at the school.
Armed with a striped bandanna, a wide-brimmed hat, rosy cheeks, and a full handle-bar mustache, the new face of West High School athletics corralled students and supporters of the buff and brown Cowboys for the first time at the Jan. 4 basketball game against the Central Crossing Comets.
The recent purchase of a mascot was made possible by the Athletic Boosters Association of West High School.
“When I started, I noticed a general lack of school spirit,” said Maureen Stemen, president of the Athletic Boosters Association.
Stemen’s observation prompted the inception and unanimous agreement on part of the Athletic Boosters Association to acquire a cowboy costume in order to boost student morale and entice West High School enthusiasts to attend athletic events.
Funds for the costume drew from T-shirt and lanyard sales as well as concession profits. According to Stemen, the mascot cost the Athletic Boosters Association close to $800 and was purchased online after much research.
“We wanted a mascot that went along with a high school…that was charming,” said Stemen.
With that in mind, the Athletic Boosters Association chose the current mascot and asked the students to generate and vote on names for the character. The top five picks were chosen and students voted as to which name fit best. From such contenders as Bucky and Ropin’ Rusty, Westin received the highest number of votes overall.
Finally, with a name and a face for the mascot, the Athletic Boosters Association again looked to the students, this time for a personality.
“We wanted someone who is energetic and kind of clean. That he or she had good grades was also one of the criteria, that they had school spirit, and that they wanted to do it and truly had a lot of motivation to do it,” said Stemen.
Among those that tried out, three were chosen to share in wearing the costume at West High School home games.
Unlike the early American cowboys who journeyed the wild west, the mascot will not travel with the athletic teams, but is expected to appear at all girls’ and boys’ home basketball games, baseball and softball games, and football games.
“We’re really just trying to get a lot of people to come to these games,” said Stemen.
“We need a lot of community support, a lot of parents to support the kids, and the kids to support each other.”