Muskrat Sam never had a chance as mascot - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Muskrat Sam never had a chance as mascot

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Posted: Wednesday, October 12, 2005 10:56 am | Updated: 8:20 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

There are two versions about the origin of Scottsdale High School’s nickname, the Beavers. Neither has anything to do with actual beavers.

When Scottsdale High was built in the early 1920s, a canal ran behind the school and a group of small, aquatic-friendly animals lived at the water’s edge.

Everyone agrees those animals were muskrats, which look like economy-size beavers, minus the flat tails. From that point, though, the story is less certain.

There was one other oddity to the Scottsdale Beaver, who usually was depicted in a letterman’s sweater. He was nameless. He never picked up a proper name such as Sparky Sun Devil or Wilber Wildcat.

Here’s the two versions:


Early Scottsdale High boosters selected a nickname to honor the muskrats they

thought were beavers. The name stuck.

"I’m glad somebody didn’t know the difference between a beaver and a muskrat," said 1949 graduate Jo Ann Handley, vice president of the Scottsdale Historical Society.

"I wouldn’t want anytime we went somewhere for the opposing team’s fans to yell, ‘Hey Rats!’ " she said.


Early Scottsdale High boosters looking for a nickname recognized the animals were muskrats and decided to upgrade.

"They decided to go with the next best animal," said Danna Brandt, who discussed the subject with an early graduate.

The boosters opted to use the Beavers name, which at the time was associated with high fashion.

Other offbeat high school nicknames

• Florence Gophers

• Marcos de Niza Padres

• Ray Bearcats

• Round Valley Elks

• Salome Frogs

• Yuma Criminals

• Yuma Catholic Shamrocks

  • Discuss


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