NEWS

 

 

March 10, 2010

 

TrouperLocal Mustang Becomes Official College Mascot

Northeast Alabama Community College now has a new official mascot, according to college officials: Trouper, a mustang owned by Amber Rain Mathewson, a horse trainer from Henagar.

“Since our official symbol/mascot for the college is the mustang horse, we are very pleased that we will now have an actual mustang to represent the college and parades and other events here and off campus,” stated Dr. David Campbell, NACC President. Campbell added that Mathewson generously volunteered Trouper as the college mascot.

Trouper is originally from the mountain ranges of Nevada, but came to the Southeast as a part of the United States Bureau of Land Management’s mustang relocation program. This program addresses the problem of the overpopulation of mustangs in the western states by finding trainers and owners for them in other parts of the United States. Land Management officials point out that a mustang herd can double in numbers in as short as a four year period and that food supplies for horses on the Western ranges have become increasingly scarce.

Mathewson obtained Trouper through this program, but only after she had trained him and won an Extreme Mustang Makeover Competition in Tennessee. Mathewson, an expert and experienced horse trainer, operates Whispering Rain Farms near Henagar and her husband, Jamie. “I knew I wanted Trouper as soon as I saw him,” said Ms. Mathewson. She trained Trouper to the point that he is now a part of the Mathewson family, even permitting the Mathewson’s young daughter Montana to pet him and with support sit astride him. Ms. Mathewson continues to own Trouper and will keep him at her family farm, but will bring to the college or other locations for special Northeast events.

The college has long been symbolized by the Mustang image, and its sports teams of the 1960s and 1970s were called the Mustangs. “Several years ago, we revitalized the mustang symbol and made it a part of our official seal,” Campbell stated. “And our new Health Education and Workforce Development Building features this seal in the lobby of the building. This seal is quite impressive.”

College officials say that Trouper is the first actual mustang used as the mascot for Northeast, although in the 1970s, there were some photographs made of a horse representing the college’s mustang symbol and students for one of the school’s yearbooks. This horse was owned by someone living near the college. Although this was a prize-winning horse, it was not a mustang and was not used for any other events. Actual mustangs originate from those brought to America by Spanish explorers. They later were used by Native Americans, the American cavalry, and settlers in the West. Mustangs are recognized for their strength, durability, and sense of spirit. These traits, along with the fact that there was a riding arena located near the college, lead college officials to chose the mustang as the symbol/mascot of the college.

“We are very pleased to have Trouper now as an official part of the college,” Campbell stated. “We also have awarded Ms. Mathewson with an Achievement Scholarship to handle and train trouper, provide educational information on animal training, and to bring Trouper to college events and activities. In addition to being an expert trainer, Ms. Mathewson also is a very good student.” Campbell added that he had seen a news article about Mathewson and Trouper winning the mustang competition, and asked the college’s event planner, Susan Barron, to see if Mathewson could bring Trouper to the college to show students, staff, and faculty and to explain the legacy and history of the mustang. As a result of Mathewson’s subsequent presentation, Trouper is now the official NACC mascot.

For information about the mustang relocation program see http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro.html

For more photos of Trouper, see Welcome, Trouper!

Pictured is Trouper, the new mascot for NACC.