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Why your mascot sucks: Rider University

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Rider? I barely knew her.

Origins

Rider University has a rich history, of making changes...

Rider University began as Trenton Business College on October 2, 1865.

In 1866, Andrew Jackson Rider came to the school as its third president and he later became a part owner in 1868.

Three presidents in one year? C’mon New Jersey.

Just 13 years later, he became sole owner of the school and they later incorporated the Rider Business School to Trenton Business College and the school then became known as Rider Business College and Andrew J. Rider became the school’s first president in 1897.

Just a year later, the demands of Rider’s cranberry bogs became too much for him to handle both his position at the school and his cranberry business.

Rider then brought in Franklin B. Moore to become his partner in running the school and Moore then became the school’s second president.

Three years later, Rider Business College merged with Steward Business School and then was re-named, the Rider-Moore and Stewart School.

Haha... Rider-Moore....

Twenty years later, the school was renamed once again, this time taking on the name of Rider College. At the same time, the school moved into its own building.

In 1929, the school introduced intercollegiate athletics, thanks to Clair F. Bee, who was the school’s first director of Athletics and first coach of the football, basketball and baseball teams.

Bee named the athletic teams the Roughriders and he was renamed as the director of athletics until 1931. Three years later, the school added soccer, wrestling, swimming, track & field and tennis to its athletics program.

More change occurred once again in 1955, when the schools athletic teams were renamed the Broncs, dropping on the moniker of Roughriders.

Cranberries

No, not the band, the food. Nothing is lingering.

Cranberry Fest, which is popular in Wisconsin, has also been a Rider University tradition since 1979. The event celebrates the universities namesake, Andrew J. Rider, who was Rider College’s first president.

According to legend, Rider introduced the Queen of England to cranberries and she then nicknamed him the Cranberry King of New Jersey. The school’s colors are also cranberry and white.

Rider was even able to get Drake Bell to perform at this year’s Cranberry Fest.

And I know what you’re thinking... who is that? He was the less-funnier brother on “Drake and Josh.” Apparently he is a successful musician, so successful that he earned a spot on the coveted Collegiate Cranberry Fest circuit.

If you attend Cranberry Fest, could also even get a chance to meet the Cranberry King, which is an inflatable mascot that attends the annual event and interacts with the crowd.

Broncs

What’s in a name?

Well, for nearly six decades, Rider wasn’t sure. The school just went by the Broncs and their mascot, while it was a thing, did not have a name.

You know how when you find an injured animal, they say you shouldn’t name it, so you don’t get attached? Maybe that’s the thought process that went into Rider not naming its mascot.

Not sure I would want to get attached to it either.

Finally in September, 2016, students, alumni, faculty and staff had the chance to name Rider’s mascot by submitting their suggestion to NameTheBronc@rider.edu. Participants were asked to send, in addition to a name suggestion, the reason why they think it’s a good name for the Bronc, along with their name and designation as alumni, faculty, staff or student.

The top five names were then revealed at Cranberry Fest in 2016.

The winning name was announced at the Midnight MAACness event in October, 2016.

The winning name, AJ, was submitted by Haley Johnston, who took home an iPad Mini, Rider gear, tickets to MAAC men’s basketball championship game and Papa John’s Pizza, for her selection being chosen.

I wonder if she ate 40 pizzas over the span of 30 days...

Johnston noted in her entry that she chose the name in honor of Rider’s first president, Andrew J. Rider. She indicated that not only is it historic, but it’s also a cool, catchy and fun name for a mascot.

Cool, catchy and fun? AJ? Really?

Close to 200 entries were submitted, with over 80 unique names. The final five names, which were announced, were AJ, Andy, Blaze, Brock and Rowdy.

I’m sorry, but all of those names were pretty lame. You had over 80 different names submitted and those were the final five?

Regardless, AJ now dons the jersey of the school’s Bronc.

Appearance

AJ is an anthropomorphic bronco, with a bit of an under bite, which could cause an issue with grazing, but if he is fed hay, then there should not be a problem.

AJ also had hands... not sure if you’re familiar with horses, but horses have hooves. I feel like more of an effort could have been done with this design. Maybe the hands could have been made a different color and then they could have been more of a mitten, so that it would more closely resemble a hoof.

Feet-wise, AJ wears sneakers, which is common among mascots and he could have hooves underneath, but I guess we will never know.

His mane seems lush and full, so I am guessing he is healthy, as the mane is a good indicator of horse health.

Also, when it comes to dancing, AJ does not horse around.

But, when it comes to his hoop game, he needs to quit foaling around, and get to practicing.

Mascot Suck Index - Rider

Suck Ranking University Mascot Mascot Suck Index
Suck Ranking University Mascot Mascot Suck Index
1 University of Minnesota Goldy Gopher 100
2 Ohio State University Brutus 94
3 Purdue University Purdue Pete 92
4 Kent State University Flash the Golden Eagle 90
5 University of Illinois Chief Illiniwek 89
6 University of Nebraska Herbie Husker & Lil' Red 86
7 University of Iowa Herkey The Hawk 85
8 University of Oregon Roboduck 70
9 Michigan State University Sparty 63
10 Northwestern University Willy the Wildcat 62
11 University of Michigan N/A 60
11 Central Michigan University N/A 60
11 University of Southern Florida Rocky the Bull 60
11 Rider University AJ 60
15 University of Oregon Puddles 45
16 University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Pounce 40
17 Purdue University The Boilermaker Special 10
18 University of Tennessee Smokey 8
19 University of Wisconsin - Madison Buckingham U. Badger 0