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
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
For more photos of Trouper, see
Pictured is Trouper, the new mascot for NACC.