INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Walk around downtown Indianapolis, and it’s clear that the Circle City has Big Ten fever.
It’s easy to spot the signs, the fans, and even the University of Minnesota mascot wandering around.
“One of the biggest things about collegiate mascots is they take normal, everyday things and they just make them ridiculous,” said a college mascot performer.
That’s something 24-Hour News 8 saw time, and time again. From crossing the street, to spinning his head, dance offs, and even scaring our own Dave Barras.
And as we found out, not just anybody can just throw on the costume and do it; you need to be athletic. “You do,” the performer said. “At least in a small way because for a lot of people, I tell them it’s like wearing an elevation mask, where it restricts your breathing. It restricts how much air you can breathe. It’s all really hot air.”
When it comes to being a performer there’s one question asked all the time that will just make a mascot’s head spin because everyone always asks the obvious one: is it hot in there?
“Is it hot in there,” the performer said. “Yeah, yup quite a bit.”
Many college performers are required to keep their identity secret. This is why we won’t see his face, say his name, and we’ve altered his voice.
This way, fans see the character, and not the person inside.
If you get no glory, and work up a sweat, why perform?
“At the end of the day it’s about bringing smiles to people’s faces,” the performer said. “It’s an opportunity to do that in a way that almost no one gets to.”
Besides traveling for tournaments, these performers get other perks, including free clothes, commercial shoots, and some even get a scholarship.
Not all Big Ten teams will have a mascot this week. Indiana University is one of the few teams in the conference that doesn’t have one.