What’s in a name?
Every couple of years the question of the Blooming Prairie nickname comes up for discussion.
Some are always agitating for a change to something other than the Awesome Blossoms. After all, they maintain that the current nickname is a very “sissy” name for athletic teams. However, they do not know the history of the name, and they cannot understand the pride that the BP students and alumni have. In fact, the nickname BP possesses is a unique one not found any place else in the country. Because of that, it is probably time that we again explain the origin of the name.
In the early 1900s, the Austin newspaper wrote about contests with Blooming Prairie and Austin by saying that Austin played the boys from blossom town. That became the usual name in their stories, and it naturally then became the name for the Blooming Prairie School.
At various times students have begun drives or campaigns to change the name. In the late 50s, such a campaign was begun, but the students voted any change down, and the Blossom nickname remained. After the boys’ basketball team played in the state tournament in 1966, another campaign was started to change the name to something more ferocious, but again it was defeated soundly.
However, in the late 60s, students did agitate for a change, and eventually Tom Ressler, Class of 1981, drew a new design in art class. A contest was held to name the new mascot look, and seventh grader Shay Robinson drew the face of the Blossom a little more ferociously. A contest was held to name the new mascot, and Robinson won the contest by calling it an “Awesome Blossom.” The name was adopted, and it has been the Awesome Blossom ever since. By the way, Robinson won a season pass to all BPHS sports contests for the year by winning the naming contest.
Local resident Yvonne Walsh drew a large design, which was placed in high school gym, and it still remains there. All the logos on athletic programs and other school printings have used that design since that time. The first time the logo actually appeared in publications was in the “Black and White Chronicle” in 1982 and then in the 1983 “Prairie Schooner.”
A costume to have an Awesome Blossom was also designed and worn by Carol Ruhter, Class of 1969, and she used the costume at many events. Eventually, it was placed in storage, but Ruhter’s sister, Melissa, Class of 1984, wore it in September of 1983 again. Since that time it has been used rather infrequently, but it can be seen occasionally again at athletic events now.
As to why it has never been changed, a former student, Melissa Ault, probably has the best explanation for that. She used a study by a school class in Indiana to show that BP’s nickname was a good one because it was so unique. That class found that there were 80 schools in the entire country with one-of-a kind nicknames, and Blooming Prairie was one of the 80. And if one thinks that the BP name is so bad, the study also found several other names that were just as unusual.
For just two examples, the Jasper, Minn., Quartz-Siters got their name after the quartz stone quarry in the community, and the Sturgis Scoopers from Sturgis, S.D., were named after the days when the U.S. cavalry was stationed in that community. The soldiers would go into town in their free time and gamble, and then come back to their barracks complaining about their money being scooped by the local townspeople.
When it comes right down to it, as Ault said, it is fun to have a nickname that is one-of-a kind because people do remember it. And if the teams are good enough and strong enough, even a name like the Awesome Blossoms will not bother anyone connected with it, and no one will be ashamed of it either. Which would stick in your mind longer- The Blooming Prairie Cardinals, for example, or the Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossom? Although BP gets its share of heckling, your answer will likely be the second of the two. So just be proud that you can be an Awesome Blossom from Blooming Prairie High School. You are one of a kind, and that is good enough for most fans!