Searching for the next Sammy

Children’s eyes light up when they see him. College-aged students get a child-like excitement to take a picture with him. His luminescent orange fur translates to school spirit and hyped campus events. He is Sammy the Bearkat and tryouts to take over the orange uniform are this Sunday.

According to Sammy’s head bodyguard, Brad Ertl, tryouts will consist of a 60-90 second skit, prop work, game day scenarios and an interview.

“Applicants are required to have a personal skit prepared prior to their tryout for them to perform in front of the team captain and coach,” Ertl said. “The skit should have music and some props. If someone is wondering what we’re looking for, just search ‘mascot skits’ on YouTube and plenty of things will pop up.”

The applicants will also be provided with random props, which they will have to improvise entertainment with. In addition, Sammy hopefuls will be given certain game day scenarios as part of an interview process.

“Game day scenarios consist of the captain and coach giving the applicant a scenario such as- ‘You go to give a child a high-five and they begin to cry, what do you do?’” Ertl said.

The role of Sammy is a year-long commitment, according to Ertl.

“Sammy is required to be at all home football, volleyball and basketball games,” Ertl said. “He also makes over 100 university and community events throughout the calendar year. Sammy has a weekly meeting with the captain to discuss appearances, athletic games, etc. [He] is also required to attend a week-long orientation camp in early August.”

However, Sammy’s appearances are not just restricted to Huntsville. The school mascot competes with the all-girl and co-ed cheer teams in Daytona every April for the week-long National Cheerleaders Association competition.

Ertl said that when it comes down to it, Sammy’s only requirement is outstanding school spirit.

“The perfect Sammy is above all, spirited,” Ertl said. “Sammy requires a lot of energy. Sammy applicants should not be afraid to try out for the position. Whether they’re short, tall, skinny, wide, male, female—everyone should feel welcome to come and see if they have what it takes. You’ll never know if you don’t try.”

Tryouts will be held Sunday at 8 a.m. in the first floor lobby of Academic Building III.

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