By Grace Karber, Sports Writer
As the OCU Cheer and Pom team prepares for Nationals, OCU’s mascot, Starsky the Ram, is preparing for a competition of his own.
At the mascot competition, during the last day of the NCA Collegiate Nationals in April, Starsky gets 90 seconds to strut his stuff on the national stage.
Starsky knows the stakes, and he’s ready to compete.
“If you don’t go to win, don’t bother going at all,” Starsky said.
The ram can be seen at every single basketball and volleyball game, wrestling match or soccer game at OCU. He uses candy – sorry, that’s “mascot fuel” – to stay energized during the games.
“I’ve learned everything, from anything on wheels to how to interact with children,” he said.
He has an extensive bag of tricks, and practices three times a week for these games.
“I know how to juggle, jump rope while on a pogo stick and many more tricks that they teach at mascot camp. I even have a pet skunk named Pepe,” Starsky said.
He won at Regionals last year and hopes that his winning streak will continue.
He placed second in Nationals last year and expects to place first this year with the skit that he has prepared.
“I am confident, friendly, outgoing and spontaneous – but most of all, I am fearless,” Starsky said.
He has prepared for Nationals for quite some time and will be doing many fundraisers to help get him there. He will be selling wristbands featuring his slogan “What Wouldn’t Starsky Do” and his hashtag #fearless on the other side, and he will be hosting a black light party for OCU sometime in March.
He will also participate in the OCU Cheer and Pom Carwash later this year—sporting a Speedo.
Starsky is also making appearances at campus events in order to boost his visibility.
He will be seen at the upcoming rebranding ceremony, and he will be making a surprise appearance at a music student’s senior recital.
He said he likes hanging out with fans at games, which includes telling them about how he got his name.
“My name came from my parents,” Starsky said. “The emblem of the Gold Star at OCU is part of the constellation Aries, and since I am a ram, they named me after the stars in the sky.”
Though Starsky has high hopes for national competition, he also wants to build a stronger connection with the campus and the students.