TALLAHASSEE (CBS Tampa) – Officials at Florida State University announced that they will be using a new mascot, a smiling cartoon horse named Cimarron, to act as a family-friendly alternative to Renegade and Chief Osceola at certain events.
In a release sent out April 26, the Athletics Promotions and Marketing Office at FSU said that the character, evocative of the “My Little Pony” dolls children have enjoyed for many years, will be present at a variety of Seminole athletic events on uniforms, logos and in the form of a life-size mascot costume.
“[T]he character will make public appearances and will be available for functions at area schools and service projects,” the release added. “Cimarron will also serve as the mascot of the Florida State University Kid’s Club.”
The name Cimarron has several meanings. It is a river in the western United States, a town in New Mexico, and a term that translates to “runaway slave” in Spanish.
When the University came up with the name, however, they had in mind another, far simpler definition.
“[Cimarron] is the Spanish word for ‘Seminole,’” associate athletic director Rob Wilson told CBS Tampa. “We consulted the [Seminole] tribe when we named it.”
When asked about the name’s slave connotation, Wilson added, “That is certainly not what we’re using it for at all.”
As for Renegade and Chief Osceola, two iconic figures in the school’s culture, they will stay on as fixtures of FSU’s celebrated football team.
“We consider them to be symbols, as opposed to mascots, and have used their likenesses because of our affiliation with the Seminole tribe of Florida,” associate sports information director Bob Thomas told CBS Tampa. “We have agreed that they will [continue to be] our long-standing symbols in pre-game football.”
Other officials agreed with the importance of keeping the chief and the horse on during football-related functions, adding that Cimarron will be seen in other capacities.
“We treat our symbol with great honor and respect and they appear only at football games, Homecoming and Fan Day,” Jason Dennard, assistant athletic director of marketing and promotions, said in the release. “Cimarron has been revived to give a promotional presence at other designated events.”
A character reminiscent of Cimarron was first seen at FSU functions in the late 1990s, used by FSU as a way to bring in a younger fan base, according to Thomas.
Dennard added, “[Cimarron] also allows us to participate in some opportunities that were not appropriate for the distinguished symbol of Osceola and Renegade.”
Thomas specifically talked about community service events and school appearances as examples of events where Cimarron may be more appropriate than Renegade and Chief Osceola.
“We’re not replacing anything,” he concluded. “[Cimarron will act in] almost a completely different realm.”
The new incarnation of Cimarron was created last fall for FSU by a costume character designer named Scollon Productions, Inc. He will be implemented in the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.