Bulldog shows heart


Kayla Dobyns, Reporter

The lights of the Drexel University basketball court beat down on freshman Jaime Yaukey as she is told to suit up. She carefully eases herself into her bulldog mascot costume, zipping it up with uncertainty. Once she slides the bulldog head over her face, she joins the other hundred mascots gathered on the court to raise money for childhood cancer.

It is days like these that make Yaukey excited to be Big Spring’s beloved bulldog mascot. Since the seventh grade, she has dreamed of being the bulldog. Everything aligned for her in high school, which led to her taking up the role during the winter sports season of 2015-2016. What began as a one time act during a quad basketball game, soon turned into a permanent position as the bulldog of Big Spring. Yaukey presents the bulldog in a spunky, enthusiastic, and humorous way, which delights the audience. She dances routines during halftime at the basketball games, and often rehearses to ensure she is doing the right moves. She’s careful not to take it too seriously though. “It’s always okay if I mess up, because the audience just thinks it’s funny,” Yaukey said. As the regular bulldog, Yaukey tries her very best to get the crowd to interact and even tries to pull people out on the court to dance. She enjoys spreading her enthusiasm to the audience and said, “I love being able to make people smile.” As a freshman, she is planning on being the bulldog during every sports season for her remaining three and a half years.

However, her dedication to the suit goes much farther than just showing up to sporting events or dancing in the middle of the gym for five minutes. Now, she’s fighting childhood cancer on the weekends, but in a mascot costume. It all began when Jay Hockenbroch, Big Spring’s athletic director,  got an email about an event called “Mascots For A Cure.” Yaukey said, “[Hockenbroch] brought it to me and he was really pushing for me to go because he thought it was a great idea.” For each mascot that signed up to attend the event, money was donated to a fundraiser for childhood cancer. The whole purpose of these mascots gathering was so that they could attempt to break the world record for “largest number of mascots dancing in sync at the same place,” and so that children could come out and get pictures with the mascots. The group of mascots danced to the Electric Slide, and unofficially broke the world record; Guinness still has to review the video. Yaukey had the chance to meet many other famous mascots, like Swoop the Eagle from the Philadelphia Eagles, the Nittany Lion from Penn State University and the Philly Phanatic.

Yaukey said, “Overall it was a very interesting experience and I would do it again, because it was really cute to see how excited kids got and it was awesome to be able to say I met some of those famous mascots. I also got to represent our school, Big Spring, which is really great for us- not many schools can say that their school mascot helped break a world record, met famous mascots and helped raise money for childhood cancer!” Big Spring is indeed proud of Yaukey, and will enjoy her bulldog antics for many years to come.