Gastonia Fire Ants: These industrious insects may be small, but their smoke signals are impossible to ignore. Fearless and fuming, who else is better suited to protect the Gas House? Opponents will think twice before charging this mound for fear of the colony’s fiery sting.
Exceptionally impressive individually, the fire ant is able to carry as much as 50 times their body weight, pound for pound, ranking them atop the strongest creatures on Earth. But if you want to see the real magic happen, watch as they assemble as a team, working tirelessly to create expansive and intricate networks for their colony and queen. And watch out for the winged watchmen – as they say, you mess with one, you mess with the whole colony.
But fire ants aren’t all flame. Like true NC natives, they feast on a wide range of foods including fruits and meat, which is why it’s no surprise to see them bellied up at the neighborhood BBQ, scavenging for scraps! And did you know, these bottomless pits literally have two stomachs?
These relentless pests are locked and loaded, ready to launch into action to do the heavy lifting and carry Gastonia into the future.
Gastonia Honey Hunters: Now charging the field, your Gastonia Honey Hunters! But, a word of caution – DO NOT get in our way.
Undersized? Yeah. Disrespected? Always. Chip on our shoulder? One or two. Going to prove you wrong? WATCH. Scared to come into our burrow? You should be.
We know no quit. No halfway. We are ALL IN. All the time. We will NOT be outworked, for there is no sweeter taste than victory. There is no task too small or mountain to steep –we WILL scrap our way to the top. You won’t catch us wasting time running our mouths or worrying about others opinions. We’re too busy grinding, hunting – on the pursuit for something sweet.
But here in Honey Hunter Territory, we do things a little bit differently, too. Here, we run in packs – nothing is stronger than community and uniting around the pursuit of greatness. Together, we honor our rich history, but have our sites set on the horizon, running full speed ahead to the future. Each day, the rising golden sun serves as a reminder that we have the opportunity to be whatever we chose – to achieve new heights. That through hard work and determination, grit and grind, passion and tenacity, there is no stopping us.
And, we know that with each cotton candy sunset, packs grow stronger by coming together over a cold glass of sweet tea and digging into a plate of North Carolina barbeque to share a few laughs and offer our neighbors a shoulder to lean on. We take pride in putting a roof over our family’s head and food in their bellies – to us, it really doesn’t get much sweeter than that.
And speaking of history, our namesake pays homage to the original Honey Hunter, Ransom Hunter – Gaston County’s first freed slave and African American land owner. Our self-taught, self-made hometown hero turned “useless land” into a place where dreams were realized, and could often be heard saying, “Strive to better yourself, but always remember where you came from.”
It’s the Ransom Hunter spirit that pulses through our veins. That fuels our bodies and drives us to hunt, without excuses or limitations, for the sweetest golden honey. And if you didn’t know, we came to play.
Gastonia Upper Cuts: Destined for the slaughter house, but groomed by the Gas House, this underhog turned fight favorite is cutting up opponents, one underestimator at a time.
Since the beginning, we’ve been proving critics wrong, punching above our weight. Even when the tank is empty and we’re running on fumes, Uppercuts have found a way, time and time again, to dig deep and pull out that jab, cross, hook combo to take down the champs and ring that Victory Bell. You know how? We’re all heart. No one wants it more than us. No one will outwork us.
No, it’s not a carefully choreographed dance – there’s nothing pretty to see here. In this ring – our diamond, as we call it – it’s all grit. An all-out scrap fest. Pure refusal to fall.
And, as they say, to the victor go the spoils, and that taste of victory is so very sweet. We may be fighters in the ring, but when we take our gloves off, underneath it all, we’re really just lovers. We know no stranger in this house. We welcome all in our corner with a sweet tea and a smile.
Though you want find us on the chopping block, we did manage to steel a page or two out of the cookbook. Like the best North Carolina barbeque, we Uppercuts offer up a one-two punch of that sour kick and the sweet, smooth finish that keeps you coming back for more. But may we suggest the chicken? We’ve chased a few out of the ring – couldn’t stand the heat. And whether you’re just passing through or planning to stay for a while, you’ll be left with a sweet taste in your mouth and our fighting spirit in your bones.
No, we wouldn’t suggest betting against us – just ask the butcher. We’ve taken our fair share of licks, and yeah, we’ll probably take a few more, but we’re fed up of that old, tired underhog label. These days, we’re a cut above the rest. Like it or not, the Uppercuts are on top. This is OUR HOUSE, and we’re not going anywhere.
It’s a grey, misty dawn. Dew covers the grass and a low fog lurks over the horizon. There’s a chill in the air as an eerie gust of wind sweeps through. Suddenly, through the silence, a thundering echo begins to boom.
Gastonia Hogzillas: Did you see that? In the distance? Coming down off the mountain. It’s getting closer. Gaining speed. Crushing everything in its path. We’d all heard the myths, but dismissed them as old wives’ tales. After all, where would something of that size and power hide? Until now, we’d never seen the horrific Hogzilla with our own eyes. Truth be told, he’s more terrifying than the tales told.
Kicked to the curb, lost and forgotten, the slumhog from the other side of the tracks has been feeding that fire in his belly, and from the looks of things, hasn’t skipped a meal. Now towering over the Gas House that made him, this modern-day mutant does what he pleases. Goes where he pleases. Whenever he pleases. He has no keeper, as he belongs to no one. He cannot and will not be contained.
With every doubter, every slighted word or crooked look, the Hogzilla grows stronger, his fiery breath growing hotter, torching his beastly brand onto whatever he touches.
But citizens of Gastonia need not fear. For those who truly know him, know that he is the protector of this place. Our watchhog, tirelessly surveying the land, is ready, day or night, to crash into action at the first sign of trouble. Yes, Hogzilla is on our team. Finally, WE are the top hogs, and there’s no going back now. Here, in the house of the Hogzillas, if you’re not running with us, you better run from us.
Gastonia Hotshots: The most elite special forces in firefighting, the best of the best, these fearless protectors are unexpectedly embodied as cut up, ax swinging rabbits, and use their natural abilities to leap into action when flames break out in the Gas House. Outfitted in their fire suits, these hometown heroes, also known as Smoke Jumpers, keep their vigilant ears to the ground and their lucky foot on the gas.
Native to NC, the Cottontail knows this land, and its rich history, like no other. The backwoods and the neighborhoods alike, this loveable leader is admired and celebrated equally by all.
And after grueling round-the-clock shifts of blistering, back breaking work, back at the station, this family unit kicks back and serves up the monthly pig pick for the community, kicking it up a notch with a couple of shots of tabasco and drawing in multiplying crowds of young and old and everyone in between.
The kids club proudly dresses the part with bunny eared fire hats, enjoy water games, sundaes will be sold in fire hats, and the park will welcome first responders/military as a special group of honored fans.
RELATED STORIES: Bellamy heads Gastonia’s 2021 Atlantic League entry; Brewery on Tap Near New Gastonia Ballpark; Downtown Gastonia Ballpark Project Underway; Atlantic League Could Land in New Gastonia Ballpark; Grizzlies Not Guaranteed Use of Proposed Gastonia Ballpark; Latest Details Presented on New Gastonia Ballpark; Design of Proposed Gastonia Ballpark Takes Shape; New Gastonia Ballpark Pitched for 2020 Debut; Gastonia to Vote on Architect for Grizzlies’ Ballpark; Gastonia Moving Forward on Ballpark Discussions; New Gastonia Ballpark Planning Continues; Gastonia Grizzlies Continue Ballpark Pitch; Grizzlies Continue Ballpark Planning; City Votes to Acquire Land for Grizzlies Ballpark; Gastonia Unveils $15M Ballpark Plan