I feel fortunate to have a job that I love so much that I constantly feel the need to write about it. I apologize if I have gone Grizzly Athletics overload on you the past few posts but I can’t help it. But let me preface by saying that tonight’s topic is pretty cool!
Once again, Monte, our mascot at the University of Montana, has made the 2013 Capital One Mascot Challenge team. Each year a number of mascots are chosen from across the country to engage in a contest to see which furry creature will come out on top and become the National Mascot of the Year. In the past the winning mascot has been chosen through a voting system. This year a version of the voting system is still in place but there is an added twist to the mix. More on that later.
It is truly a big compliment that Monte continues to get chosen to the Mascot Challenge team (he has made it in 2002, 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013). Pretty much all the other mascots on the team hail from large, BCS schools. The fact that a mascot from a smaller school in the FCS can continue to crack the team speaks to the talent, creativeness, and marketability of Monte. Each year we submit an application to Capital One. The required materials call for a highlight video, a couple high resolution photos of the mascot, and a completed paperwork form. You can then add any supporting documents that you see fit to improve your mascot’s chances of getting selected. We always see to it that we go above and beyond when creating our application.
When we got word that we made this year’s team we were ecstatic. Besides the great publicity and notoriety that we knew we were going to get from making the team, it also came with a $5,000 prize that went straight to our Mascot program. The payoff for taking the time to create a superb application packet is immense.
The senior of the two Monte performers who I oversee traveled to New York City in June to shoot the commercials and other promo materials that make up the Mascot Challenge. This student got the luxury of an all-expenses paid trip to the biggest and best known city in the nation to hang out with fifteen other mascots, stay in a nice hotel, and do some filming. Not a bad perk of the job. When he returned from the Big Apple he told me that he really tried to make Monte standout from the other mascots during all the shooting.
From the time of us submitting the application to hearing the good news to sending our mascot to New York it seemed like a lot of time had passed. So last week when the competition finally went live I think we were all ready to finally start the long campaign. But before we really started to ask people for their support for Monte, we needed to make really clear how they could support Monte. You see, things this year had changed.
In a quest to create more engagement and to take advantage of the ever increasing landscape of social media, Capital One introduced a three level point system. While you can still go with the old-fashioned way of simply voting for Monte there are other options that can boost his status in whatever head-to-head competition he is engaged in that week. While voting will only get you 1 point, you can complete “challenges” that will award Monte more points. Each week the contest organizers will present a question or task. If you answer or complete the task and use the appropriate hash tag of #CapitalOneMonte on Facebook or Twitter you get 25 points. However, if you want to put a little more effort into your support you can take the 25 point challenge a step up send 100 points Monte’s way.
Take for example this week. The 25 point challenge is to write a cheer for Monte. However, if you perform it in public and video it and then submit to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram with the appropriate hash tag you add 100 points to Monte’s schedule. I have no idea what the other challenges will entail but they should be fun for fans to complete.
Here is the cool thing about Monte in this competition: Each time he participates in it he does well. Even though out of all the other mascots he is from the smallest state in the smallest city at the smallest school (population wise), he always manages to make a great run deep into the competition. Because of the strong passion Griz Nation has coupled with the strong social media presence of Grizzly Athletics, Monte has a chance to win a competition that he really should have no business doing so. It is a beautiful thing and a pretty cool tribute to one of the best fan bases around.
I ask that you please go here and complete the challenges for Monte and then vote 100 times for him. Remember to use the #CapitalOneMonte hash tag. This week we are up against CAM THE RAM from Colorado State University and we need your support. Yes, we do have a good lead on him right now but with any competition that hinges on social media things can change drastically and quickly. Hope you had a great Labor Day weekend and please support Monte for National Mascot of the Year.