When you think of the Mountaineer, West Virginia’s iconic mascot, it’s almost impossible to imagine the figure’s visage without the black powder musket in hand. That musket, the one that the Mountaineer famously carries and fires off throughout every contest, from hardwood to turf, has to come from somewhere. Since 1977, each musket has been painstakingly, lovingly built by a man named Marvin Wotring who sadly passed away Sunday at the age of 78.
A 1956 WVU graduate, Wotring served the university for over 40 years by building and servicing each and every musket that passed through the doors of his shop. In addition to the physical labor necessary to build the iconic firearm carried by the Mountaineer, Wotring helped instruct nearly 30 different Mountaineer mascots on how to properly load and shoot each rifle. Inevitably, Wotring formed numerous bonds with the mascots themselves, but was also an avid supporter of the West Virginia rifle team, who he annually gifted a custom-made rifle to.
A resident of Morgantown, Wotring is one of the many true-blue Mountaineers who have labored diligently over the years to support the University and help nurture the strong tradition that embodies both the school and the state.
Each time you hear the musket go ‘boom’, remember Wotring and the dozens and dozens of people off in the periphery who work hard to make West Virginia what it is.