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All hail the Hodag: Rhinelander High School's mascot voted best in America

Wisconsin shows all kinds of love to the Hodag, which overwhelmingly wins SBLive Sports' contest for best high school mascot in the U.S.
Courtesy of Jeremy Mayo/Northwoods River News

Courtesy of Jeremy Mayo/Northwoods River News

Voters turned out in mythic proportions for northern Wisconsin's favorite mythical creature: the Hodag, crowned as SBLive Sports' best mascot in America.

After narrowly beating the Wyverns in the preliminary Mythical Creatures Bracket, the Rhinelander Hodags left no doubt in the championship round, amassing 183,455 votes to cruise to the title over the Shelley Russets in Idaho (72,502 votes).

When the championship field was released Oct. 19, the voting drumbeat for the Hodags hit the northern Wisconsin airwaves right away.

The campaign to elect the Hodag extended well beyond Rhinelander High School and was celebrated across the city on Thursday.

Yes, Rhinelander prides itself on its Hodag history, as this video shared by Kerry Bloedorn, director and curator of Rhinelander's Pioneer Park Historical Complex, shows:

"Hodags are not only our high school mascot, they are the symbol of our very community," Bloedorn said. "Hodags have been around for 130 years in Rhinelander, and everywhere you go in our town you will find its image: statues, murals, businesses, etc. Residents of the community current and former are called Hodags. We have a saying: 'Once a Hodag, always a Hodag.'" 

Results from the 12 preliminary rounds:

Jobs Bracket

Animals Bracket

Mythical Creatures Bracket

Historical Figures Bracket

Geography Bracket

Science Bracket

Food Bracket

Action Bracket

Pun Bracket

Stuff Bracket

Class Struggle Bracket

Random Bracket