In honor of barefootmarley, I’ve dug up my WVU article from a few years back:
“MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Mountaineer might just be the busiest mascot in show business.
I first caught sight of the well-armed, bearded man in buckskin as he entertained the crowd during the first half of a women’s soccer NCAA tournament game at Dick Dlesk Stadium. By the time I had worked my way over to the sideline where I had last seen him, he was gone, so I pursued him across the track oval and up the hill to WVU Coliseum, just in time for tipoff of the first women’s basketball game of the season.
After firing his musket (not a euphemism) to mark the official start of the hoops game, the shaggy mountain man eluded me a few more times in his quest to meet and greet everyone in the building. Eventually, he held still long enough for me to flag him down for a few minutes. For what it’s worth, he needs this kind of energy.”
Last time I was there, the latest incarnation of the Mountaineer gave me some bear jerky to try. It was good, but earned him a lot of ribbing, since he had been publicly taken to task for using his school-issued musket to hunt earlier that year.
I’d also have to say that no article I’ve ever written has earned me more personal emails from readers - the people of West Virginia take a lot of unearned grief for being rednecks, and I got the sense that the people who wrote me were genuinely pleased that someone had taken the time to come and see what Mountaineer pride is all about.
(via Pilgrimage: Milan Puskar Stadium and West Virginia football - ESPN)