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The bronze Chaparral mascot stands outside the Moody Auditorium

How the Pioneers Became Chaparrals

((The Dustertoday is the Lubbock Christian University online newspaper that exists to serve the students, faculty, staff, and friends of the university. The staff of The Duster strives to provide fair, balanced and accurate news coverage of topics that directly affect members of the LCU community and to do so in a fun and creative way.

The following article is written by Makenzie Roberts. To read more stories from students on The Dustertoday staff, visit www.thedustertoday.com. To purchase the 60th anniversary book, "Pioneering Spirit, Extraordinary Faith," and read more stories about the past of LCU, visit LCU.edu/60thbook.))

It all started in the 1960s. LCU – LCC at the time – was known as the Pioneers. As reported in an essay in LCU’s 60th anniversary book, “Pioneering Spirit, Extraordinary Faith,” students and faculty of LCU came up with this mascot from a line in the school song, which states, “Hail to our own Lubbock Christian, modern pioneers.”

LCU kept the Pioneers as its mascot for three years, until someone spoke up about possibly changing it. It then went into further discussion by the student body, faculty, and supporters. During this debate, LCU student Sara Lenard presented the side for not changing the mascot, and Fred Barnes, another student, presented on why it should be changed.

Sara’s argument was that the alumni were already known as the Pioneers, and that changing the school ring would be a challenge, since it would involve breaking a contract that would cost LCU $600.

Fred’s argument for changing the mascot was that another school not far from LCU was also known as the Pioneers – Wayland College, now Wayland Baptist University. He argued that this would be an ongoing problem until something was done, stating “the problem does not lie in the students and their personal feelings, but in the good of the school and its future.”

The conclusion to these arguments was announced by then president Dr. F. W. Mattox: There was no need for a mascot change. The reasoning for a change was not deemed strong enough.

The next call to change the mascot was in 1964 by LCU students who didn’t know about the first attempt. When the idea surfaced, the students were pointed to an article in “The Duster,” then the students started researching this topic. They talked with Jim Ravanelli, who was the LCU Student Senate president at the time of the first mascot debate and was now working at the school.

According to the essay in the 60th anniversary book, Ravanelli told the students that to change the mascot they needed a different strategy. He recommended focusing on two points: 1) What is the most important reason to change the mascot? 2) What would be a unique alternative mascot?

To answer the first question, they decided to focus on how many surrounding schools share a mascot similar to the Pioneer (it turns out there were many others) and how LCU should be different from other schools. For the second question, they focused on how the new mascot should be something original, simple to draw and representative of the school’s spirit, as well as maybe having a live mascot.

Within two weeks, the student body, faculty, and alumni had decided the new mascot of LCU would be a Chaparral, which is known for its intelligence and speed. A voting process was held in chapel. When the votes came in there were 269 votes for the Chaparral and 51 votes to keep the Pioneer.

In 1964 they submitted the change to the LCU Board of Trustees for approval. The board said the students and alumni should pick the mascot, so the deed was done. The Chaparral still stands as the LCU mascot today.