Weber State University has a new national champion to boast about: Waldo the Wildcat.
Waldo became a national champion April 11 at the NCA Collegiate National Mascot Championships in Daytona Beach, Florida. The mascot championships were held as part of the NCA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championships.
To become eligible to compete in the championship, mascots must qualify either at a summer camp hosted by NCA or by video submission. From these submissions and camp performances only the top 10 mascots from around the country are selected to show the audience their skills and have them judged on a national stage.
The championship was the first time Waldo had competed in a mascot competition, and he won. The mascots are judged on their abilities of getting the crowd involved, dancing, creativity and the use of props, as well as overall character portrayal.
The theme for Waldo was “A Day in the Life of a College Mascot” and in less than two minutes he was able to show the judges and spectators what it takes to become a nationally ranked college mascot.
Summer Willis, the spirit squad adviser, was impressed with how well Waldo did.
“Waldo was incredible and he really blew everyone away,” Willis said in a statement. “He really impressed the judges in all aspects of the competition and made a name for himself and Weber State.”
With a final score of 59.10 Waldo won the championship by almost two points. Rowdy from Wright State University finished in second place with a final score of 57.47.
Waldo beat mascots from schools around the nation such as Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Utah Valley, Missouri, Wyoming and Iowa State.
Sawyer Sudweeks, a member of the WSU spirit squad, watched Waldo’s performance live in Daytona Beach.
“He did amazing,” Sudweeks said. “The mascot part of the competition doesn’t always hold my attention and I feel like that is mostly true for the rest of the audience as well. But when Waldo was performing, everyone stopped to watch.”
During his routine Waldo demonstrated to the crowd what “a day in the life of a college mascot” was like. From waking up late and realizing he had procrastinated just a little bit too long, to working out and checking Tinder, Waldo showed the crowd what it was like to be a college student. He just did it on a much bigger scale.
WSU junior and spirit squad member Ben Nagai believes one big thing that sets Waldo apart from his competitors was his ability to tumble. Seeing a 6-foot-tall cat backflip onto his stomach and then begin breakdancing is something that is still excites WSU fans and it’s also something not many other mascots are able to do.
“None of the other mascots tumbled,” Nagai said. “No one in the crowd had ever seen anything like what Waldo did, and he got a standing ovation. I’ve never seen anything like that for a mascot.”
In addition to the impressive skills performed throughout the routine, Waldo also designed and constructed all of his own props himself.
“We’ve known for a while that we had the best mascot,” Sudweeks said. “And now everyone else knows it too.”