By Beth Cox
Mascots are essential to the spirit of any organization. They are effective marketing tools for promoting a specific product. Chick-fil-A has single-handedly changed the way people look at chicken; interestingly enough, through the eyes of a cow.
University of Tennessee’s mascot, “Smokey,” the hound dog has become so crucial to Tennessee; the bluetick hound is now the official dog of Tennessee.
The mascot helps bring character to the school by depicting the potential perspective of a school’s athletic program by establishing a certain image.
Lonnie the Longhorn has well represented Johnson County sports over the years. He has run out with the football team, brought the crowd to their feet at basketball games, and gave “high fives” to Johnson County’s youngest fans at the homecoming parade. Time has been rough for ‘ole Lonnie, though, and even the best longhorn sometimes gets put “out to pasture.” Unfortunately, the time has come to put the current Lonnie in his eternal resting place. In October, Johnson County residents got to pay their respects to the old mascot during Scarecrows on Main. The cheerleaders bid him a final farewell with a “rest in peace” theme by gently placing the old costume on a bale of hay with a RIP monument.
Johnson County Bank purchased the old Lonnie in 2011, but through the seasons, Lonnie started fading, material started ripping, and honestly, a collection of germs was reaching an all-time high. Johnson County Bank remained committed to Johnson County sports and the mascot, so the bank purchased a new and improved Lonnie the Longhorn. Megan McEwen from Johnson County Bank emphasized the importance of team spirit, “We at Johnson County Bank love our sports and our athletes, we are committed to doing all we can to support Johnson County sports and our community, purchasing a new Lonnie was one small way we can make a difference and show our Longhorn pride.”
Senior, Kobe Cox will be proudly wearing the new costume this year, and he is ready to greet the fans.
Cox explains why he loves being Lonnie the Longhorn, “I get to hype the crowd up. My favorite part is interacting with the kids; they get so excited and run up and give me a high five. It’s great.” Cox, along with Lonnie the Longhorn, will be ready to support Longhorn basketball on December 3, on the Atwood Court as the Longhorns take on the Unaka Rangers.