Can you Name this Cardinal?

Tribune photo published October 28, 1954
GROOMS AND HIS ROBOT - Looking up at his eight-foot creation is George Grooms, designer at the Collegiate Manufacturing Company in Ames.

And now!  For one personalized 'I' blanket!  Can you name this bird?  Here's all you do.  Just pick a name for Iowa State's Cardinal mascot.  Send it to: "Cardinal," Iowa State college, Ames, Iowa.  Or, if you are a student, deposit your entry at the main desk of the Memorial Union.  Entries must be received by midnight, Nov. 17, 1954, and must include the name and address of the entrant.  Alumni should include the date of graduation.  Remember:  All Iowa State college students, alumni of Iowa State and residents of the state are eligible.  Judges for the contest are J.D. Armstrong, past president of the Alumni Association; "Red" Barron, alumni secretary; E.W. Peterson, Department of History and Government; and Chuck Duncan, president of Pep Council.  Decision of the judges will be final.

Yes, Iowa State's new mascot, which made its debut at Homecoming two weeks ago and appeared at the migration game at Missouri Saturday, is going to receive a name.  First prize in the contest will be an 'I' blanket, imprinted with the winner's name.  The six runners-up will each receive a miniature Cardinal.  Prizes are being donated by the Collegiate Manufacturing company, which made the Cardinal.

"It is hoped," said Duncan, "that the new mascot will become a symbol of the spirit brought about by the rejuvenated athletic program at Iowa State."  Students had been attempting to find a new mascot for some time, since it was impossible to develop any figuration or animation from Cyclones, the school's nickname.  But definite steps were not taken until last spring when a new athletic program and an accompanying spirit appeared in the dawning.

The Cardinal was a natural, easy transition from the school's colors, cardinal and gold.  Another reason for the choice is the fact that very few schools in the nation use the Cardinal.  In the Midwest, Southern Illinois State Teachers is the only one.

The bird was made and designed by George Grooms.  It took him about ten days to construct the eight-foot mascot.  Brilliantly colored, the bird has an aluminum and hardware cloth base, covered by rayon plush and wool felt.  Two mixing bowls form the eyes.

"This was a big step for Iowa State," says Grooms.  "Look what 'Herky" Hawk has done for Iowa.  He symbolizes everything down there."  Grooms has many plans for the Cardinal -- but first it needs a name.

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Tribune photo published October 28, 1954

Pepsters Admire New Sidekick. Admiring their new helper are, from left: Cheerleaders Lary Axelton, Jane Pennock, Marian Schoenemann, Charlene Sehs and Chuck Duncan, president of the Pep Council.  Inside the Cardinal is Virgil Petty.

Besides highlighting the new ISC mascot, these three photos show the inside of the Masonic Building where Collegiate Manufacturing was located.  The top photo on this page shows the door to another tenant in the Masonic Building, the National Farm Loan Office of the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company.  At the time of these photos, that firm was poised to move into the newly built structure at 500 Fifth Street.

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Tribune photo published October 15, 1954
NEW HOPE for Iowa State is this Cardinal, symbolical of the new spirit of the ISC athletic program.  The unnamed bird, designed by George Grooms of the Collegiate Mfg. Co., will come out of storage for his first big appearance at the Iowa State-Colorado game, although he made his brief debut at the pep rally Thursday night.

The winner of the Name the Mascot contest was Wilma Beckman Ohlson, the first of 17 people to come up with the name Cy.  A photo of Wilma with Cy and her prize, the 'I' blanket, can be seen in the January 1955 issue of the Alumnus.  Wilma and her husband, Edward H. Ohlson of the ISC Engineering faculty, lived in Ames at 816 Hodge.

George Grooms' 8 foot tall Cardinal was not the first ISC mascot to be named "Cy."  In the early 1930s, the large Great Dane owned by Vivian Snook of Ames represented Iowa State College for several years.