It's difficult to be in one of Iowa's major college towns without running into a mascot. These days mascots are big business. Whether for marketing, birthday parties or being ambassadors for universities, mascots have become a major part of a university's identity and alumni pride.
The role of the mascot has evolved and changed over time, and on this edition of Talk of Iowa you'll find out how.
Hear about the history of Cy the Cyclone, Herky the Hawk, and TC the Panther, and hear the story of how one Des Moines women was offered a full-time job to bring her English bulldog to events at Drake University.
Later in the hour, you'll hear from three people who used to wear the suit, including a former Cy, Herky and TC. These former mascots offer a behind-the-scenes look at the process of becoming a mascot, revealing the tryout process, the art of keeping their jobs a secret and managing the elements.
- Doug Biggs, Professor of History at the University of Nebraska Kearney
- Erin Bell, Associate Director of Marketing & Live Mascot Program Director at Drake University
- Colby Campbell, former TC the Panther at University of Northern Iowa (2012-2015)
- Javy Perez, former Herky the Hawk at the University of Iowa (2011-2015)
- Lori Beckman, former Cy the Cyclone at Iowa State University (1997-1999)