Welcome to Trailblazer Nation
Dixie State University’s Brooks the Bison is Taking Over Southern Utah
by Jyl Hall
photos courtesy of Dixie State University
Banners boldly emblazoned with Brooks the Bison’s face hang off lampposts and wave in the wind. Residents proudly wear bright red Trailblazer T-shirts while out and about. Art installations throughout the area feature strong bison. When residents and visitors take a look around southern Utah, one thing is clear: they are in Trailblazer Nation.
This pride in the local university, desire to cheer on and support the institution’s students, and commitment to carrying on the Dixie Spirit of determination and generosity was reignited on April 11, when Dixie State University revealed that the institution’s athletic teams would be known as the Trailblazers from that day forward. Upon the announcement, cheers of excitement immediately filled the auditorium and enthusiasm for the 105-year-old institution’s new Trailblazers identity and Brooks the Bison mascot quickly expanded beyond campus to all of southern Utah. Almost half a year later, that excitement is still palpable.
The creation of Trailblazer Nation started immediately. On the evening of the unveiling, Trailblazer banners adorned campus, and pennants boldly announcing the new identity hung from lampposts on St. George Boulevard. Later that very week, members of Dixie’s student association painted the new athletic logo on the road in front of campus’ Burns Arena, and Brooks the Bison’s face graced the windows of the basketball complex. Additionally, lampposts and billboards around campus, the front of Legend Solar Stadium and various signs on Bruce Hurst Field all bore the name and logo of the new identity.
Additionally, Dixie State education majors went to 28 area elementary schools and gave presentations about the importance of earning a college education while unveiling the mascot to the kids. As part of these presentations, each elementary student received a children’s book about Brooks, and the DSU students left each school’s library with a cardboard cutout of the friendly bison.
Since that exciting week, the university’s rebranding efforts haven’t slowed down a bit. In fact, the excitement for Trailblazer Nation has expanded to Mesquite and Cedar City, where billboards along I-15 welcome travelers to Trailblazer Nation.
Just in time for commencement in May, a bronze statue was installed on campus in front of the Holland Centennial Commons along the route graduates traditionally take as they march to the commencement ceremony. After arriving at midnight the night before commencement, the statue purchased by Dixie’s student association was installed overnight and ready for graduates to incorporate into their traditions mere hours later.
This football season, Brooks the Bison will make his debut in the “flesh.” Set to be unveiled at Legend Solar Stadium, the custom-made mascot costume will allow Brooks to put on a great show as he cheers on the Trailblazers, energizes the crowd and, of course, makes his way around the campus and community handing out high-fives and hugs. You won’t want to miss the fun!
To get the best fan experience, be sure to join the Dixie State Trailblazer Club. Membership supports DSU’s athletic programs and student-athletes, and members receive everything from athletic event tickets and newsletters to invitations to functions held throughout the year and opportunities to meet Trailblazer coaches and players. Kids can get in on the excitement too with Brooks’ Buddies Kids Club. Specifically designed for Trailblazers fans ages 1-12, the free club offers members free admission to all Dixie State home athletic events, birthday greetings, opportunities to meet Dixie State student-athletes and coaches, and invitations to members-only events. Visit dixieathletics.com for more information and a complete schedule of games.
Another exciting project underway is the Trailblazers Art in the City project, which is placing hand-painted bison around the region. The project promotes DSU, local businesses, and the arts while beautifying the area and creating a greater university town environment. A map and mobile app marking the locations of all the bison are available for residents and tourists to use to take self-guided art tours of the pieces.
As part of this project, local businesses have the opportunity to annually sponsor bison or purchase a Trailblazer of their very own. With the annual bison option, businesses sponsor and receive recognition on a custom-painted bison placed in a high-profile location in downtown St. George for a year. The purchased Trailblazer package allows businesses to outright buy the statue, keep it in front of their businesses, and select the artwork that will adorn the bison. This is a great option for Mesquite business owners.
Businesses or artists interested in learning more about Trailblazers Art in the City may contact the Dixie State University Marketing & Communication office at (435) 879-4409 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Others wanting to show their Trailblazer spirit can contact the university’s Marketing & Communication office to request a Brooks the Bison window cling or flag to hang in front of their businesses. With your help, we can share the Dixie Spirit and continue to grow Trailblazer Nation.
Now is an exciting time to be part of Trailblazer Nation – great things are happening at Dixie State University and you don’t want to miss out!