Behind the mascot
Augustana doesn’t suffer from a shortage of school spirit. With the Augieholics, dedicated alumni and a mass of students cheering on the team, sporting events are accompanied by energetic support.
Cheering would not be the same without the school mascot leading the pack. Ole the Viking is a symbol that Augie students can identify with during the games, and none identify more with Ole than the students behind the costume.
“What better way to represent our school spirit than to be the ‘face’ of our school?” sophomore Eric Brumbaugh said.
Brumbaugh became co-mascot this year along with junior Kade Klippenstein, who worked as the mascot last year as well. Klippenstein was approached about being the mascot two summers ago, and he agreed. This year Brumbaugh joined Klippenstein to help lessen the workload between the two, though both agree that being the mascot is more fun than it is work.
“Putting on the Ole costume allows me to adopt an alter ego,” Klippenstein said. “I can do whatever I want to get the crowd pumped, taunt the opponents or high-five a little kid without facing judgment of any kind from the crowd.”
Brumbaugh also enjoys the freedom that comes with wearing the Ole suit.
“The feeling is great. You pretty much can do whatever you feel Ole should do, whether it’s dance on the bleachers, sit by alumni or cheer on with the Augieholics.”
Brumbaugh started off his career as Ole with a bang when he wore the costume for the first time at the Augustana/University of Sioux Falls football game.
“It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced as a student.” he said. “After getting into the fight with the USF kid who stormed the field, I felt like a hero of Augie for a day, and all my friends loved me for it.”
Brumbaugh and Klippenstein are paid through an Augustana mascot scholarship. They wear the suit mainly at football and basketball games, with additional appearances at wrestling, volleyball and various Augustana events throughout the year.
“I love Augustana College, and being the mascot provides an opportunity to express school pride and get the Augie community pumped up,” Klippenstein said.
Being the mascot comes with pitfalls as well.
“Sometimes being Ole can be physically demanding, especially during hot football games,” Klippenstein said. “Another difficult task is trying not to frighten young children with the formidable costume.”
Through warm weather and fights with the opposing team, Klippenstein and Brumbaugh use their Viking strength to tirelessly lead the crowd as they cheer the teams to victory. As long as Ole is around, Augustana school spirit will stay strong.