INDIANAPOLIS — They’re crazy, zany and make sports fans across America smile, and only in Indiana can you enjoy them in one building, the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting.
“It’s just that magical combination of overt fun with a lot of subliminal education,” said Al Spajer, the director of community engagement at the Mascot Hall of Fame. “We pride ourselves on that. You come here, and you think you’re here for a good time, and you’ll have a great time, but you’ll learn a lot of things along the way.”
There’s a lot to experience at the 25,000 square foot interactive children’s museum.
This weekend, two of Indiana’s finest will be honored as inductees in the class of 2020.
Trey Mock is Blue. He’s entertained Colts fans since 2006, and he’s made Blue his own, knowing not only what it takes to make people smile, but reach their heart as well.
“I think Blue’s ability to connect on a deeper level,” explained Mock. “I think mascots are known for being slap-stick comedy and making people laugh, but the attention to detail to each individual and making everyone feel special I think, is not unique only to Blue, but it’s definitely something that we’ve tried to build a foundation upon.”
Blue has not only earned recognition as the NFL’s top mascot, voted on by his peers, but’s he’s played host to the league’s summer mascot workshop where they share ideas to improve on fall Sundays.
“Games are so much fun,” Mock said. “But honestly, it’s the moments of being able to go into a hospital and to be able to make a patient, young or old, for just a few minutes laugh or forget what they’re going through and just have the opportunity to just have joy.”
Boomer’s been providing joy to Pacers fans since 1991. He does over 300 community appearances a year, including parades, school shows and senior center visits.
Jamie Russell, Pacers associate director of game operations, spoke on Boomer’s behalf.
“We’ve always known that Boomer’s one of the best mascots,” said Russell. “Of course, we’re biased, and of course in our state, we’re biased. We have Blue and Boomer getting recognized this weekend, which is fantastic, but it makes us feel just awesome that everyone loves Boomer, and they wanted to get him into the Hall of Fame and show him that support.”
Fan voting made it happen for Boomer and Blue, meaning Sunday’s induction will be all the sweeter.
“Boomer is extremely excited,” Russell said. “I mean, this is such a huge honor for him. He’s been doing this for a very long time, since 1991, and our organization couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s such a great good will ambassador for the city and for our franchise.”
“We look forward to getting back out in the community and seeing you and high-fiving and hugging and getting back to showing how much we love you, so thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said Mock. “We really appreciate it.”
“They are great representatives from the Indianapolis area,” added Spajer. “They’re great representatives from the state of Indiana. We’re proud to have them.”