For the first time, someone has told the story of Charlie Charger.

The college book­store announced freshman Cal McNellie as the winner of the com­pe­tition to tell the life story of Charlie Charger. Senior Mary Dorroh took second, and sophomore Jacob Damec took third. The official biog­raphy of Charlie Charger can be read on Charlie’s page on the Hillsdale Chargers’ website.

Gwen­dolyn Buchhop ’11, com­munity rela­tions coor­di­nator for the Hillsdale Ath­letics Department, ini­tially came up with the idea.

“I wanted to add a little more dimension so that when people see Charlie they have a story in mind,” Buchhop said. “If the winner was a student or maybe a faculty member, not part of the ath­letics department, it would help people to think, ‘I’m a Charger. I may not put on a uniform every weekend, but I’m a Charger.’”

Buchhop took her idea to Ashlynn Landherr ’16 and Hank Prim ’17 in the student activ­ities office who helped set up a part­nership with the book­store for prizes and pub­licity.

“It’s a way to do a campus-wide event,” Landherr said. The book­store pushed the message to stu­dents through posters around campus as well as emails.

“We just love to support the campus com­munity and we’re thrilled to help however we can,” said Angie Berry, trade book coor­di­nator.

The top three con­tes­tants found out about the contest through the bookstore’s adver­tising and crafted their stories in dif­ferent ways.

“I was inspired by Johnny Cash’s song ‘A Ragged Old Flag’,” third-place winner Damec said. “I con­ceived of Charlie as an American war hero who takes down people who don’t like America.”

Damec said he feels a close con­nection to Charlie.

“I feel there’s a com­bining of souls when I see Charlie on the football field,” Damec said. “We share a bond of love for America”

Second place winner Dorroh wrote her entry at 2:30 a.m. while lis­tening to The Strokes. In her piece, Charlie searched the world to find the pep­piest pep band and ends up at Hillsdale College.

“I wanted to write some­thing that cel­e­brated the pep band,” Dorroh said. “We’re at every game, and while we’re not ath­letes, we’re special. Some­times not many people besides the pep band, cheer­leading squad, and Charlie show up.”

McNellie wrote the tale of Charlie Charger as a poem.

“I grew up reading Dr. Seuss as a kid and started writing my own poetry in the fourth grade,” McNellie said. “It’s what I’m most com­fortable with.”

Charlie’s official biog­raphy tells of a colt who excelled at running, but sought more in life, deciding to pursue beauty and truth at Hillsdale College.

“Charlie is a regular horse trying to find his way in the world and has a crisis of who he is,” McNellie said. “What’s important to him is Hillsdale College. This may be a metaphor for other stu­dents.”

McNellie crafted the story shortly before the deadline and with the help of his friend, freshman Drew Rubick, who edited it.

“When I heard I won, I was pretty excited. It’s cool to see my name on the website,” McNellie said. McNellie plans to use the prize to buy a scarf for his girl­friend.

For people inter­ested in the history of our school’s mascot, McNellie has pre­sented an answer. Perhaps stu­dents can draw inspi­ration from Charlie’s tale.

“Charlie will always support his Chargers — lose, draw, tie, or win,” McNellie writes. “For it matters not the score­board, what matters is within.”