Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Behind the beak with Rowdy

Graphic by Tristan Ipock, The Paisano

Roadrunners, are you aware that among us there walk students who are more than students, more than just human? There are a select few of us who have access to a superhuman amount of energy and school spirit, true Roadrunners who take on the mantle of Rowdy the Roadrunner.

At football games, Rowdy is there. At basketball games, Rowdy is there. At volleyball games, Rowdy is there. Wherever there is a need, Rowdy is there representing the university and rousing the spirited enthusiasm in all of us that lies dormant most of the time.

The Paisano was able to interview the legendary bird at a rare, free moment in its busy schedule on the condition of anonymity for the man—or woman—behind the anthropomorphic mask.

There have been many Rowdys through the years, going back to 1977 when Rowdy was named the official mascot of UTSA; however, the current generation of mascots have had the particular opportunity of defining the role of the mascot now that UTSA has a football team.

This has led to the establishment of a new tradition and a new position, that of the Rowdy Wrangler, who works in collaboration with Rowdy (wrangling him, presumably) in the spirited environment of the games.

Other, older traditions maintain their hold, though. For instance, one little known tradition of UTSA mascots is wearing the Rowdy costume—headless—beneath their graduation robes.

But it’s not all fun and games being Rowdy. The costume is “hot; it’s a sweat machine,” said Rowdy. At football games, Rowdy wears the costume from two to four hours.

“You’ve got to make sure to drink plenty of water the next day (to stay hydrated),” said Rowdy. And all that sweat can make a costume stink, which is why there are a total of four costumes; cleaning and maintaining are the most important aspects.

To be Rowdy, it takes more than just the costume. To be a great mascot, one must have years of training and experience.

“I tried out for the mascot team my sophomore year (of high school) and was fortunate enough to continue doing it my junior and senior years…and I worked with the Spurs too, assisting their mascot. I learned a lot from that.”

The question then is: why do they do it? Why put in the hours and hours of hard work? What does one get out of being a mascot?

“The best part is the fans; they make everything better…It’s entertaining to mess with people and see what kind of reactions you can get, like elementary school kids go crazy. You’ve got to go off of the energy of the crowd.”

“Being Rowdy is like fame that you can put on and take off; you get to be two people. Sometimes I see people I know as Rowdy, and I want to talk to them, but they don’t know me.”

So keep an eye out ‘Runners, as the semester begins. There are at least five people currently taking turns filling those giant shoes. They might be sitting next to you in class or in the next row over, but they’ll definitely be at the game. If you are interested in becoming part of the mascot team, email [email protected] or call 210-371-6179 for information on tryouts.

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