SHERMAN, Texas (KTEN)—Sherman Independent School District opens the new year with a new fixture in the high school entryway: A statue of campus mascot Billy Bob Bearcat.

With the old statue pushing 55 years old, it was time for a change.

"The bearcat was chosen about a hundred years ago as the Sherman High School mascot, and has evolved over the years as the legacy of the school system," said James Perry, director of the Ex-Students Association Museum.

The 3D-printed piece is the result of several years' work.  Superintendent Dr. Tyson Bennett said students pushed for the new statue during the planning phase for the new high school.

"So during the design for Sherman High School, one of the things that our students, our parents, our community members said as they worked on the design process, there were certain features and facilities that they wanted, and one of those was a statue at the entry," Dr. Bennett said.

Attending the unveiling were generations of the statue's caretakers, known as the Billy Bob Boys. They were responsible for getting the statue onto the field for football games, where it would blow smoke and light up its eyes for a Sherman touchdown.

"We'd pull it around, and invariably it would tip over and hit one of us in the noggin," recalled former Billy Bob Boy Richard Saffa. "But there was no greater honor than being a Billy Bob Boy to me. It was fun. We were part of something neat."

Unlike its predecessor, the new statue will not be wheeled out for football games, and instead remains fixed indoors.

The statue was created and donated by Core Construction. Dr. Bennett mentioned the possibility of using the school's 3D printer to make small replicas of the statue for awards.