As the school year starts, books are being bought, classes are being filled, and Waldo the Wildcat is starting fresh. On Aug. 10, 2011, tryouts for playing the beloved mascot were held at Stewart Stadium.
After posting Facebook ads, flyers and ads in the newspaper, only six people showed up to the tryout. However, six people was just enough.
“We were very pleased, since school isn’t even in,” said Ron Goch, WSU assistant athletic director.
This was Goch’s first time judging the tryouts, and he said it was a great opportunity to have students come out and participate, as well as be able to watch students do something they thoroughly enjoy.
Students were required to do a one-minute skit and a short interview, and fill out an application to show they met all the requirements. Summer Willis, another judge and a WSU Spirit Squad adviser, said she was more than thrilled.
“It was a really successful tryout this year,” Willis said. “We found actually two great mascots, really talented people. We’re really, really excited about the year.”
The athletic department is also working on wardrobes and props to assist Waldo in a variety of programs that will be unveiled throughout the year.
The two new people selected to be Waldo — one a main mascot, the other a “mascot-in-training” — will remain anonymous until they decide they no longer want the position.
“Being Waldo the Wildcat is a fun job, but it also has great responsibilities,” Willis said.
Waldo can be found at football, soccer, volleyball, basketball and softball games.
“It’s such an important role,” Willis said. “It’s an icon for the entire university. They do a lot of community service hours.”
On Monday, Aug. 15, Waldo was at the ribbon-cutting for the housing of Wildcat Village. He’ll be at a Polk Elementary children’s fair at the end of August, as well as a Rio Tinto women’s soccer game. Goch was recently asked if Waldo would also show up at a hospital event.
Students should expect to see Waldo soon. He will be at the block party on Aug. 26, as well as a pep rally the same day in the Bell Tower Plaza. The first home game, Sept. 17, held against Sacramento State University at 6 p.m., is when students will be able to see Waldo participate in his first game.
“We were looking for someone fun, an outgoing personality, someone that could really draw the fans into the game and entertain the crowd,” Willis said. “I think we found that.”