PRICE — Carbon High School has reached the final round of USA Today's Best Mascot contest.
It wasn't until the 1930s that the Carbon Miners became the Carbon Dinos, and now that switch in mascots has the school on the brink of winning a national title. It's a feat that's taken quite a bit of clicking.
"I know I've had stretches where I've voted for six to eight hours at a time. We've made jokes about me having to get carpal tunnel surgery after this," said George Deeter III, senior at Carbon High.
It's paying off — the Carbon High Dinos are in second place in the USA Today High School Sports Most Unique Mascot Contest.
"I know I've had stretches where I've voted for six to eight hours at a time. We've made jokes about me having to get carpal tunnel surgery after this."
This contest has generated a new sense of school spirit that extends beyond the current student body.
"Old Dinos who haven't thought anything about being Dinos all over the country are voting," said Carol Chiara, Carbon High librarian. "I mean, I called all my kids and other parents have called all their kids who live far away, and they're all voting from all over the country."
The contest and a shared heritage have also unified supporters of the Dinos and their top rival in the USA Today contest.
Centralia, Ill., home of the Orphans, is a mining community like Price. Sixty-six years ago today, 111 miners were killed when a Centralia Coal Company mine exploded and collapsed.
"It's pretty cool to see that they care and it's not just about competition."
When the Orphans learned about the death Friday of Emery County miner Elam Jones, messages of support for Carbon High, where Jones' father-in-law works, began to stream in.
"It's pretty cool to see that they care and it's not just about competition," said Nick Rhoades III, senior at Carbon High.
This is still a competition, though. The winning school gets $2,000. But the students and staff at Carbon High say that's not what it's about.
"It's not about the money," Rhoades said. "It's about coming together and winning, just school spirit."
"It's built school spirit with a lot of students who didn't have school spirit before, and that's what's good about it," she said.
The Class of '79 will be at the high school Monday night to help the Carbon Dinos try to pull out the victory. If you'd like to vote, visit the USA Today Best Mascot voting page.
Voting ends Wednesday at 1 p.m. MST.