The Grays Harbor College Chokers weren't named for acts of violence or for losing their nerve on the field, the GHC mascot represents the choker-setter, a very strong man with the toughest job among loggers in the woods of western washington. If you've ever seen the show Axe Men, these are the people who run all over the mountain wrapping chains around huge fallen trees, and then direct the person at the top to use the "yarder" machine to drag the log up the rugged forest slope.
"It was always dangerous to work under a spar tree, where the spotting line was pulling in empties, the tongs dangled form the loading jacks on the guylines overhead, the yarder was bringing in turns every few minutes, and always there was the chance of runaway cars going down the grade, plus the omnipresent risk of rolling logs crushing the unwary. Logging was then, and remains today, a business where a man literally had better know how to run for his life." [Source: Prouty, Andrew Mason. More Deadly Than War: Pacific Coast Logging, 1827-1981. New York; London: Garland Publishing, Inc. 1985.]
The mascot, in use since the early 1950's, has in recent years become a common entry in "Top 10" lists for weirdest or most unusual mascots in the country. In 2009, Time magazine placed it at #8 in it's top 10 worst team names. In 2012, With clipboard, stopwatch and a bag of Cheetos snacks in hand, Chester Cheetah, the iconic spokescat for Frito-Lay, announced that Charlie Choker was at #9 in his official rankings of the Top 25 Cheesiest College Mascots. Drawing from an admittedly unscientific analysis of college mascots nationwide, rankings are based on "cheese factor" and all-around silliness.
The choker is actually the hook affixed to the heavy steel cable that the choker setter loops around the log and attaches back onto the cable.
The GHC statue, which welcomes students and guests to the campus, was carved
by Louis Benanto, Jr. in 1975.
John Madden played football at Grays Harbor College in 1956.
Jack Elway was Head Football Coach of the Grays Harbor Chokers from 1961 - 1966.