Independence League introduces North Platte Plainsmen

The newly formed collegiate summer level Independence League grew to nine teams with the addition of the North Platte Plainsmen this week. The team unveiled a suite of logos that feature a no-nonsense cowboy character created by Lincoln, Nebraska–based designer Adam Kovar.

The cowboy character does not have a name yet, but he was loosely inspired by one of North Platte, Nebraska’s most notorious claims to fame—Buffalo Bill Cody. The famed bison hunter and showman Buffalo Bill owned an 18-room mansion on a 4,000-acre ranch and established the extravagant Buffalo Bill Wild West show in the town.

“He spent the last part of his life there, there’s a museum there, we play at Bill Wood Field at Cody Park,” said team operator Chuck Heeman. “There’s a lot of a tie there, so it kind of came to, we want somebody that kind of looks like a cowboy.”

It make you wonder if there will be a special rivalry when the Plainsmen play the Independence League’s other new team, the Gem City Bison.

Text and other elements in the logo have a decidedly horizontal feel to them, especially a series of lines stretching out like the horizon from a baseball.

“If you’ve ever been to North Platte, that’s exactly what it is,” Heeman said. “You look around and it is flat and it is expansive.”

The overall feeling of the logo bucks a trend in minor league, independent, and collegiate summer level baseball. Its tenor is more serious and less cartoony than much of the branding the industry has seen in recent years.

“Some of these teams they go with these crazy names to get attention from people. There’s a lot to be said for that, but I think in North Platte, it’s really not that kind of town,” Heeman said. “We haven’t had, you know, why don’t you call yourselves the Sky Babies or something stupid like that. It’s just not that kind of town.”

The Independence League was formed by seven teams who left the Expedition League—the Badlands Big Sticks, Canyon County Spuds, Casper Horseheads, Fremont Moo, Hastings Sodbusters, Spearfish Sasquatch, and Western Nebraska Pioneers—and has since added the brand-new North Platte Plainsmen and Gem City Bison. The league begins play May 24, 2022.