UK mascots trek to Sin City


The Wildcat and cheerleaders pump up the crowd before Vanderbilt’s final play during UK’s homecoming game at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, October 8, 2016, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky beat Vanderbilt 20 to 13. Photo by Joshua Qualls | Staff

Emily Scott

As the Cats prepare for another basketball season, the excitement from students and other fans alike is just beginning. But what would the UK basketball season be without the beloved Wildcat mascot? 

The Wildcat has the tall task of keeping enthusiasm up on the court.  Is it effortless?  What kind of work goes into the job off the court?

According Ross Boggess, a sophomore and one of the faces behind the wildcat costume, UK’s mascots traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, recently to shoot video footage that will be used during upcoming sporting events and commercials to continue to rally fans across the country.

Boggess, a cheerleader and mascot since Aug. 2015, along with Korie Yates, another UK sophomore, also attended the event and served as a mascot handler.  Both said they enjoyed their experiences in Sin City.

According to Boggess, the purpose of the trip was to shoot footage to be used by CBS to promote the upcoming CBS Sports Classic, a double-header in Las Vegas between UK, UCLA, Ohio State and the University of North Carolina.  Mascots and representatives were in Vegas shooting footage for the event as well.  Additionally, multiple civilians were invited to play miniature basketball games with the wildcat mascots, many of which walked away with tickets for the Classic in hand. 

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Boggess said that the trip was a positive experience overall, but commented specifically on one of the highlights.

“We were playing basketball off the top of a parking structure at T-Mobile Arena and we were trying to shoot in a hoop seven stories down and kept on filming over and over again,” Boggess said.

As a mascot handler, Yates had some slightly different responsibilities, which included taking the mascot on breaks and checking to make sure the wildcat costumes are equipped correctly, fixing any loose or malfunctioning pieces. Even though  didn’t have a job that required as much action as did the jobs of the mascots, Yates came away from the experience with some of her own highlights.

“Honestly, entering the mascot world was interesting,” Yates said. “As soon as they put their suits on, their personalities just all transformed.  That was my favorite part.  Seeing everyone in their suits and seeing how they interact with people and the different personalities they have.”

During his time in Las Vegas, Boggess reflected on his time as a UK cheerleader thus far and also as a friend of the Wildcat mascot. 

“It’s been an awesome experience.  You get to see the behind the scenes of so many different places and everybody has an instant connection to you, even if you don’t know them,” Boggess said.