Big Red wannabes show their stuff

Catherine Melvin

Wes Mudd was calm, cool and collected at the Big Red tryouts.

“I wasn’t really nervous. That is one advantage about being a past Big Red,” Mudd said. “I knew what to expect.”

Mudd, an Elizabethtown junior, was one of 15 students who tried out for the coveted honor of being Big Red last Thursday in Diddle Arena.

He was Big Red during the 2002-03 academic year.

Students who tried out had to fill out an application and answer six questions about Big Red.

“I don’t feel that I have an edge just because I have been involved in the past,” Mudd said. “There is a lot of competition.”

After the question process, the applicants had to perform a one-minute skit to a song of their choice and a one-minute skit to the Western fight song. After completing the skits, the judges then shouted expressions that Big Red would typically have to act out and then the student would respond accordingly.

“We are not looking for a specific type of person,” said Heather Soto, director of marketing and promotions. “It is really about how they can play the character and act as an ambassador for the university.”

Soto said one of the most important aspects of the job is to be committed and on time.

Big Red has been known to be played by both men and women. And the role isn’t restricted to a certain body type or athletic ability.

“Big Red is the coolest thing in the universe. Why not be a part of it?” Mudd said.

Big Red has more responsibilities than attending every major Western sporting event. The mascot must also participate in community events.

“Many people request Big Red at their birthday parties,” said Paula Davids, athletic marketing assistant. “Big Red also attends walks and runs held in the community as well, among other things.”

Due to the large demands on the mascot, there are two main Big Reds chosen to attend all of the sporting events and then there are about five others who can fulfill the positions in the community.

The final cuts for the mascot won’t be for another week or two. Each finalist will perform as Big Red at an upcoming home baseball or softball game to give the judges a feel of how the student would act in a game setting.

Reach Catherine Melvin at [email protected]