Building the Cobbler Mascot: The ‘M’ Project

Editor’s note: 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the building of the current Rapid City Central High School. To mark it, the Pine Needle is looking back to intriguing moments in Central’s history.

On two separate occasions, the Cobbler art club thought to build 3D models of the Cobbler mascot. The second version guards the main entrance to this day.

By Catarina Sammarco and Hope Paris

Every student is familiar with the Cobbler mascot sculpture who stands guard over the main entrance next to the security desk, leaning casually in his Cobbler gear and graduation cap. Before the Cobbler mascot took the job of guarding the main entrance, he was used for football games for thirteen years. Have you ever wondered where this sculpture came from?

In 1978, when Central High School first introduced art club, it consisted of eight people. Together they created The “M” Project, a 3D model of our Cobbler mascot made out of a Styrofoam frame and paper mache. The art club took approximately 30 hours to complete the tremendous structure, which was then presented at a pep assembly to get the Cobbler basketball team ready for a big game that night against the Stevens Raiders and also to raise money for the art club to take a school trip to Denver. To this day no one seems to know or remember how long they used the old Cobbler mascot, but he disappeared and was forgotten.

Fast forward to 2003. Bobbie Greenway and Kelly Thornburg were the head of art club at Central that included a total of 10 people. After looking at pictures of the Cobbler mascot, they got this wild idea of making him 3D. “I do remember building that Cobbler guy with a 2×4 frame and then adding a paper mache body structure,” said Greenway. Weirdly enough, the 2003 art club ended up creating something very similar to the structure created in 1978, although both Thornburg and Greenway admit they knew nothing about the original project.

After three hardworking weeks, the 3D mascot was completed. “It was really fun to make,” Thornburg said. The athletic department gladly donated a pair of shorts and jersey for the mascot to wear, and his black boots came from Greenway’s husband. Everything seemed perfect, until the day they had to present the Cobbler sculpture, when the art club realize the Cobbler’s hair was green. Luckily Thornburg was able to paint the hair quickly and dry the paint using a hair dryer.

m project pic