The Mountaineer mascot is one of the most recognizable figures and symbols in the state of West Virginia. He or she who wears the uniform is one of the most visible ambassadors of West Virginia University, and the state as a whole.

There are a lot of responsibilities resting on the shoulders of those who fire the rifle. Freshman West Virginia native Mary Roush currently holds those responsibilities and the rifle.

The Mountaineer is also highly respected and has earned national recognition.

West Virginia’s mascot has been named the Best Live Human Mascot by the National Mascott Hall of Fame. The Mountaineer received more votes than Notre Dame’s Leprechaun and Stephen F. Austin’s Lumberjack.

“For other schools, the person becomes the mascot; at WVU, the mascot becomes the person. This allows the Mountaineer to be well known throughout the fanbase, even after their term is over and they become a functioning member of society,” WVU wrote in a description of the Mountaineer, which can be found on the Mascot Hall of Fame website.

Roush is currently the face of the coveted position, though she will relinquish the buckskin to the next Mountaineer mascot in the spring.

The Mountaineer has been a staple of West Virginia University athletics since the mascot’s inception in 1934. Roush is the 68th Mountaineer, and just the third woman to be WVU’s official mascot.