Butler University’s cheerleaders and mascot traveled north to kick off the athletic season with a week of drills and workouts.
The Bulldogs were joined by squads from across the nation at the Universal Cheerleaders Association spirit camp for a week of drills and grueling workouts.
“All the workouts and the schedule of each day is very grueling,” junior cheerleader Jen Schaffer said. “It’s very hard if you aren’t prepared.”
A typical day for the cheerleaders started at 7 a.m., when they had to be ready in full cheerleader attire for their first workouts.
After being divided into classes, participants worked on cheers varying from those used during football kickoffs to basketball free throws.
They also engaged in competitions throughout the week with other cheer teams.
“It’s great to be able to work alongside and compete with other cheer teams that go to Nationals every year,” Schaffer said.
The Butler representatives won the fight song competition, which judges teams based on cheers during their school spirit song.
“It’s a hard week, but the team really bonded, and we got some good work in,” Schaffer said. “It starts the season off on a good note.”
While the cheerleaders were pushed to their limits at camp, the mascots had it a little easier.
Butler’s mascot Hink was at the same camp perfecting his craft, joined by other mascots such as Brutus from Ohio State, Bucky the Badger from Wisconsin and Boss Hog from Arkansas.
Mascots were educated in areas such as fan interaction, creativity and even child psychology.
Throughout the week, they were asked to put on improvisation skits, used props and were judged by former and professional mascots.
This year, Gnash, the mascot of the NHL’s Nashville Predators, was in attendance to help Hink and others learn tricks of the trade.
“It’s cool to have pros there,” Hink said. “They give us helpful tips.”
Any real work the mascots had to do at camp quickly was followed by a game of dodgeball to “keep us having fun,” Hink said.
After leaving camp, cheerleaders and mascots said they are prepared for another year of cheering on all of Butler’s sports teams.
“Camp kind of gets us in the mindset of starting the fall season,” Hink said.