The Hodag


Hodag [hoh-dag]
noun, plural -dags

  1. A folklore animal, often referred to as a monster.
  2. A mascot for the town of Rhinelander, WI and many Rhinelander area businesses.
  3. A mascot for the Rhinelander Highschool and James William Junior High sports teams.
  4. A Country Music Festival

The following is taken from the marker at Hodag Park in Rhinelander, WI, erected in 1973 by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

"This mythical creature is the official symbol or Rhinelander. It was created in 1896 by "Gene" Shepard. Rhinelander pioneer timber cruiser and famous prankster. Shepard claimed to have discovered the animal in the woods near Rice Creek. He "captured" it by blocking the mouth of the den with rocks and rendering it unconscious with a chloroformed sponge on a long pole. Actually fashioned by a skilled woodcarver named Luke Kearney, the original Hodag was seven feet long and thirty inches high, black and hairy, with two horns on it's head, twelve horns along its spine, and short powerful legs armed with long claws.

For years Shepard exhibited the Hodag at county fairs in a dimly lighted tent, controlling its movements with wires. Many spectators believed the animal was real. Shepard would assure them that he had captured it on "Section 37" and that it ate 'nothing but white bulldogs and those only on Sundays.'"

Modern depictions of the hodag deviate only in color, the Hodag is now "known" to be green.

Also Heard:
Happy Hodag: A friendly greeting, often heard during the Hodag Country Festival.
Happy the Hodag: A hodag created for children and the star of two children's books about the hodag.
Hodagger: A Hodag Country Festival attendee.



Happy the Hodag

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