New Billy Bob Bearcat Statue Unveiled For Future Generations
With a maroon flourish, the new Billy Bob Bearcat statue was unveiled to the gathered alumni, students, staff and community members inside Sherman High School the morning of Jan. 2.
“When the new Sherman High School was in the design process, our students asked for a statue, and a new statue inspired by our beloved Billy Bob Bearcat was delivered,” said Superintendent Dr. Tyson Bennett. “This statue reflects the history and rich tradition of Sherman High School and will be enjoyed by generations to come.”
Donated by CORE Construction out of Frisco, the statue was modeled after the 1966-67 fiberglass statue carried to SHS football games. The original statue was first purchased in 1966 and constructed in Clarksville, and it featured a siren, a mouth billowing smoke and flashing eyes.
To pay for it, the classes competed to see which could raise the most money. Seniors won with $253.36, and the junior class raised about $180. Sophomores pitched in $115, and the remainder came from community members. The total came to $553.98, or a little over $5,000 today.
Four seniors were elected to care for the Bearcat: Eddie Moughon, Tom Brandon, Bob Atchison and Mark Kennedy. Each year thereafter, and until it retired, a small group of seniors, usually four, were named caretakers and were responsible for transporting to games and pep rallies. The group came to be known as the “Billy Bob Boys.”
“I recall the first time we took the statue out to its first game,” Kennedy said. “We were all bent on running out on the field, but then at the time, we discovered it was a bit unstable.”
That was during the Sherman-Durant game in 1966. Billy Bob Bearcat made his first appearance at the game’s pep rally on Sept. 16, 1966.
Richard Saffa, Class of 1972 and former Billy Bob Boy, laughed with Kennedy’s story and added, “There was no greater honor than being Billy Bob Boy to me. It was fun, and we were a part of something bigger.”
The original Billy Bob statue retired in 1981 after suffering “external and internal injuries,” according to the local newspaper, after a rainstorm caused it to topple and snap. After a little rest and restoration, the statue “lived” in the former Sherman High School library before moving to the Athletics office. Now, it will move to the Sherman Ex-Students Museum.
While the new statue may not have smoke pouring from its mouth or wheel around the campus, its creation credits new technologies. CORE Construction used a 3D printing process, building it in polymer particle segments before delivering it to the high school. SHS also has plans to print small replicas of the statue themselves.
“To see this much maroon and white not associated with the school district, you can see that this means a lot to the local community, its spirit and its pride,” said James Perry with the Sherman Ex-Students Museum.
From left: Former Billy Bob Boys Larry Atherton, Mark Kennedy, Joe Fallon and Richard Saffa