After an arduous audition process on Sept. 27, Washburn University found its new Ichabod mascot.
What may come as a surprise for some is the fact that there is not just one performer under the face of Washburn school spirit and pride.
“Now we have two mascot performers, which is full capacity for the year, so that’s a really exciting thing,” said Amanda Hughes, assistant director of university relations. Hughes helped head the search for the new avatar of the university.
While the new Ichabod costume had many expecting a higher turnout for the auditions, the exact number of would-be mascots must be kept under wraps for the time being, as those who chose the successor to the top hat do not wish to hurt the feelings of rejected few.
Like a mysterious avenger of the night from a comic book who inspires hope in the downtrodden, the identity of the new Ichabod must remain a secret.
“We absolutely can’t say who the new Ichabod is,” said Hughes. “The reason being it’s a liability issue. When somebody’s in a costume and if somebody knew the identity of that person, they could really mess with them. We try to keep it secret who the two mascot performers are, because it’s a real big honor.”
While the veteran entertainer has already been participating in Washburn athletics this semester, the rookie Ichabod must be groomed before they can take the mantle.
“[The returning performer is] the one you’ve been seeing at all the football games and other appearances,” said Hughes. “The new performer will actually receive some training, and then we’ll start the creating process as well. “[We will] have lots of meeting where we sit down and create what the Ichabod looks like. After shadowing the current mascot performer for a while, he will be able to perform as well.”
The new performer went through the audition process of both a basic interview with a tribunal of judges as well as performing in a version of the mascot costume.
“In the mascot costume, you have to be real animated,” said Hughes. “Obviously, you can’t use your voice to communicate, so being able to mime things that we asked them to do or just performance quality in general, getting the judges into the performance. And then we had a little dance-off moment, so he did excellent at all those things.”