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At a noon pep rally Friday, Red Lodge High School officials announced to the student body their new school mascot.

They are now the Red Lodge Rams.

"The kids sounded excited about it," said Marci Dye, chairwoman of the Red Lodge School District board.

Three weeks ago, the choices for mascot were down to the Rockies, the Bear Cats and the Golden Eagles. The board had appointed a committee to select a handful of names for students to vote on. With the three choices, the committee turned it over to the students, who selected another 17, including the Rams.

By Friday morning, after a series of votes from the student body, the choices were down to the Bear Cats and the Rams. The students took a final vote Friday morning and school officials announced the winner at the noon rally.

Dye was pleased to see so much student involvement brought into the selection process.

"They're invested in their choice," she said.

The issue of changing the high school's mascot has been a sensitive and at times explosive issue in Red Lodge. For more than 50 years, it was the Red Lodge Redskins. But as the community grew and cultural mores changed, more and more residents and students became uncomfortable with the old mascot.

Some alumni from the high school and some longtime residents of the town advocated for leaving the mascot as it was, saying it was part of the town's tradition and identity.

At the beginning of the year, the school board held a series of emotional meetings to address the issue and in February, trustees voted unanimously to change the mascot.

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