Roaring With Pride
HURRICANE – What do a de-roofed buggy, a storm warning flag and the stripes of a jungle predator have in common? All of these played a role in the mascot and color choices of Hurricane High School’s mascot.
Of all the Southern Utah high schools, Hurricane’s name, colors and mascot may have some of the murkiest details, mixed with legend and fact. Definite proof may be elusive, but if the pieces are assembled, Hurricane’s mascot and colors have a logical sense of progression.
From a gust of wind came the name Hurricane. From the hurricane warning flag came the colors red and black, and from those colors came the name “Tigers.”
It all started with a wind-whipped buggy. When Erastus Snow, an apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visited the area local Paiute tribe members called “Timpoweap,” a whirlwind ripped the roof off his buggy. Snow, as legend has it, responded, “That was a hurricane,” and the name stuck.
A community was established and a school constructed. When it came time to pick school colors, administrators chose to use the colors of a hurricane warning flag: red and black.
“When I started teaching at HHS in 1972, there were still some ‘old timers.’ I asked them why our colors weren’t orange and black,” former Hurricane football coach Wes Christiansen said in an email to The Spectrum. “They said it was because the flag colors for hurricanes were red and black.”
The school added a ninth grade class in 1917, and added sophomore and junior grades over the next few years, but it was not until 1928 that Hurricane graduated its first senior class.
In the meantime, the school picked a mascot, but it wasn’t the Tiger. According to a school history, written in the 1928 yearbook is an account that students in 1926 voted for Red Devils, beating out Black Pirates and Blue Jays.
According to Christiansen, the school settled on Tigers because school officials could render the orange-and-black tiger stripes into red and black.
The first known mention of the Tigers came in the 1931 yearbook called “The Hurricana.” On page 24, the yearbook recounts the Tigers’ basketball season: “In the face of defeats the team went on through the whole season and we feel they have come through with flying colors. Along with our ‘Fighting Tigers,’ the yell squad, the teachers, in fact all of the Hurricane people kept up the fighting spirit.”
That community-wide Tiger spirit persists.
“One thing I love about our school is that it’s not just our students — it’s our community,” said Hurricane student body vice president Kazden Jolley. “That’s what sets us apart from the others. St. George is split four ways, but we have the support of the whole community.”
Jolley points to a student fundraiser for Travis Yazzie, a classmate who died earlier this year. When it was announced they had raised $1,200 at a football game, Jolley said many parents in the crowd heard the announcement and immediately held up money for the students to come and collect.
Besides the Tiger, the letter H is the other thing synonymous with Hurricane High. Students first placed an H on the hill in 1925.
“Everywhere you go, there’s a Tiger and an H,” said student body president Jared Worwood.
Hurricane, and the accompanying towns of LaVerkin, Virgin and Springdale, created a community glued together by the high school.
“Living in Hurricane was like being in a perfect community,” said Hurricane alumna Margie Hare, “and the high school really holds the community together, as we all went to activities like football games on a Friday night.”