by Kory Riemensperger
One of the first sports memories Drake Fenlon, ’14 communication, recalls isn’t an unbelievable catch or heartbreaking loss. It’s the puzzled look on his parent’s faces because their son was more invested in Awesome Eagle’s routine than the Tech game.
This fascination with mascots prompted Fenlon to suit up as Cookeville High School’s Mr. Cavalier and Tech’s Awesome Eagle.
For this year’s World Series, Fenlon kept the crowd entertained as
assistant for the winning team’s mascot.
Fenlon works four part-time mascot jobs for teams in the Kansas City area: the Royals of Major League Baseball, the Chiefs of the National Football League and the Missouri Mavericks, a AA hockey team.
“I represent a lot of teams, so my schedule is busy, and my apartment is full of mascot body parts,” said Fenlon.
Royals fans saw their mascot, Sluggerrr the lion, at the 2014 and 2015 World Series. The team lost the first series in seven games, but won this year’s championship in five games.
Fenlon was there for every home game, the liaison between the production team in the stands and the mascot on the field. His headset connected him to both so he could make sure the mascot was in the right spot at the right time.
“Everyone wants a selfie these days, and mascots are a prime target. It’s my job to keep him moving on gameday, and to keep an eye out for rogue bats and balls that could injure audience members.”
When he first started working for the Royals, Fenlon said he was in awe of the staff’s professionalism and the number of people in the stands. After a full season of looking after Sluggerrr, however, some of that incredulity has worn off.
“I’ve become numb to the crowd noise a little bit. I’m still surprised every now and then though. Normally the media pool next to my dugout has five or six photographers, but there were more than 1,000 at each World Series game.”
With all his time in the spotlight, Fenlon is still proud of his time entertaining audiences as Awesome Eagle.
“When I think back on it, a lot of what I did for the team at Tech is similar to what I do now. It kind of prepared me in a way for the big leagues.”
Fenlon’s first year at Tech, the mascot team doubled in size and participated in more national competitions. After each, Fenlon and his team broke down film of other competitors to improve their routine. His last two years at Tech, Awesome Eagle took a first place victory in the Universal Cheerleaders Association’s competition.
“At the end of the day, the fans are here to be entertained,” Fenlon said, “ so that’s what we try to focus on every night.”