Since 1988 Buster Bronco has been the official mascot of Western Michigan University. Although not sanctioned or governed by the NCAA, Buster is a part of the cheer team. Buster can be seen at various events primarily athletic related walking around showing his Bronco spirit. Please feel free to approach Buster or have your picture taken with him at the events.
Puck Boy enters the playing surface in between the 2nd and 3rd period of every home hockey game ready to throw hockey pucks into the crowd. The seating section who cheers the loudest will have a chance to catch the puck. The incentive to catch the puck is because each puck is worth a free pizza. Look for Puck Boy at a future Bronco hockey game and you may win a free pizza.
Original Nickname: “Hill Toppers”
Prior to the current Bronco nickname (Broncos), WMU’s athletic teams went by the nickname “Hilltoppers,” reflecting the institution’s original Prospect Hill campus. The moniker often led to confusion with other schools that had a similar nickname and became outdated when the University expanded beyond its hilltop confines. The nickname "Hlltoppers“ was resurrected in 2001 to identify a new volunteer group that is clearing and cleaning up Prospect Hill.
The Bronco Name
The “Broncos” nickname dates back to 1939 when the athletic board of then Western State Teachers College adopted the nickname of “Broncos”. The former name of “ Hilltoppers” was often confused with similar names used by other colleges. Many suggested names were turned in for consideration at the time.
The nickname “Bronco” was submitted by legendary WMU alumnus, John Gill, who was then an assistant football coach under M.J. Mike Gray. Gill later served as the Bronco head football coach and as WMU’s associate athletic director until his retirement in 1969. The most popular Bronco ever is “Buster Bronco,” the school’s official mascot. For his efforts for giving WMU it’s current nickname, Gill was awarded a check for $10.00 which he promptly turned over to the Waldo Stadium building fund.
Bronco Horse Statue
Installed in 1997
Stands: 9.5' x 14'
Weighs: 1,800 lbs
Designed by artist Veryl Goodnight. Purchased through gifts made possible by David B. Smyth and his wife Margret.