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Colonel Rock IV collectible unveiled on National Bobblehead Day

Bobblehead figure of an English bulldog wearing a Western Illinois University sweater.
Jane Carlson
Tri States Public Radio
WIU's live mascot Colonel Rock IV, also known as Ray, is now featured on a limited edition bobblehead.

Western Illinois University is now officially part of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.

Specifically, it is the school’s live mascot, Colonel Rock IV, that has been inducted.

Listen to the story.

The limited edition collectible was unveiled on Jan. 7, which is National Bobblehead Day.

Phil Sklar, co-founder of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee, said the organization produces several hundred new bobbleheads a year, from celebrities to politicians.

More and more, the organization is making bobbleheads for colleges and universities – especially live mascots.

“There’s just that special pride for them,” Sklar said. “Colonel Rock we know is in that category of being beloved in Macomb and the area by alumni, faculty and staff.”

Colonel Rock IV is also known as Ray.

The English bulldog took over live mascot duties at WIU in 2018.

He followed in the paw prints of Colonel Rock III, also known as Rocky, who served as WIU’s four-legged mascot from 2010 until his retirement.

Sklar said Ray’s caretakers approached the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum last year after seeing another university’s bulldog represented in the collection.

From there, a hand-sculpted mold was produced from photographs of the dog and details were refined until Ray’s likeness was perfected.

The bobblehead features Ray proudly wearing a WIU sweater, camouflage collar, and dog tags. He sits on a base featuring the Leathernecks logo and his tongue playfully hangs out to the side.

Only 2,021 of the Colonel Rock IV bobbleheads were made.

Sklar said when those are gone, they’re gone, but there could be other WIU bobbleheads down the road.

“We potentially could go back and create Colonel Rock III or other mascots for Western Illinois, which I know we’ve gotten some requests for,” Sklar said.

The collectibles are available at the WIU bookstore in the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum's online store.

Sklar said sales have been brisk thus far.

A portion of the proceeds will support the WIU’s live mascot program, which was revived in 2010 with Colonel Rock III after being on hiatus since the 1970s.

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