Big Red places third in national mascot competition

Trey Crumbie

Big Red just got a little more famous.

WKU’s figurehead placed third in the mascot portion of the National Cheerleaders Association and National Dance Association’s Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship that occurred from April 9 to 13. 

The annual competition took place in Daytona Beach, Fla., and featured more than 10 mascots from various colleges, including Otto the Orange from Syracuse University and Scrappy from the University of North Texas. 

The competition was judged based on a skit. Each mascot had a theme that they incorporated into their performance. Big Red’s was “Let’s Go to the Mall.” 

Paula Davids, a staff assistant for marketing and promotions in the Athletic Department, who is known endearingly as Big Red’s mom, said Big Red chose the theme.

In Big Red’s skit, the mascot paraded around a stage and visited various stores including Victoria’s Secret and The Apple Store. 

During each of Big Red’s visits, a song played that corresponded to the store, such as “Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake when Big Red visited Express, a clothing store. 

During the performance, the Topperettes, the WKU Dance team, assisted Big Red in getting the props on and off of the stage.

Laura Iverson, head coach of the Topperettes, said the dance team put as much effort as they could into cheering on Big Red.

“We asked the teams around us that didn’t have mascots competing if they would cheer for him and somebody stopped us on our way back to our seat and said that they thought it was the best performance that they had seen,” Iverson said. “He did really well.”

Davids said she was thankful for the Topperettes’ effort.

“I don’t know what we would have done without the dance team there to help us,” she said. 

Davids found out Big Red’s placement in the competition the same day the skit performed. Davids said the trophies were awarded from fifth place on down. The closer the trophies got to first place, the more anxious everyone got. 

Davids said in order to be entered into the competition, Big Red had to place first in a preliminary contest that occurred at the University of Louisville in July. 

Third place is the best Big Red has earned in a national mascot competition since 2009.

Davids said everybody enjoyed the competition. 

“It was just really a good experience for both myself and the team members,” she said.