Miina McCown/The Broadside
Have you ever looked at Central Oregon Community College’s Bobcat and wondered, who is the person behind that mascot suit? Would you have guessed that it was a student? The Broadside sat down with Jesse Peskin, COCC’s mascot person, and got to know more about the position, his efforts, and how it all came to be.
While this is Peskin’s third year at COCC, he had never seen a mascot around during his time there. Now, his presence lights up COCC’s home games, and he hopes to bring that same energy to other school events and potentially even some of Oregon State University Cascades’ events as well, being a DPP (Degree Partnership Program), or dual enrolled student.
The Broadside: Being the person behind the Bobcat mascot is such a unique job. How would you say that you were able to get the position and how did you hear about the opportunity?
Jesse Peskin: To preface things, I started attending COCC about two years ago, and I never saw a mascot and I never really knew if we had one. And then, over this past summer, I thought it could be a fun idea… I also wanted to give back to the school. I emailed some of the teachers and the Coordinator of Student Life. It’s not a hired position, but I wasn’t really going to be staying out there for hours on end, so it is a volunteer position. I immediately got the position, and the way I can say I got it was by pestering the teachers and professors into giving me information about it.
TB: It’s interesting how you spearheaded everything to make it happen. Could you tell us a little more about what kinds of events you appear at and how you navigated through the first times of being a mascot?
JP: When I first got the position, Joshua Motenko emailed me about the games going on; some home games for rugby, dodgeball, volleyball and soccer at COCC at the time. When I first signed on, he asked me what I saw myself doing. Would I be one of those active, running around the field mascots? Or hanging around in the stands with people? And I thought that I would be a good mix of both. Now I realize that I’m more of a chilling in the stands kind of person. So mostly, what I do is gravitate to every group of people and visit and give high fives.
TB: Since you’ve only appeared at sports games so far, do you think that you’ll also consider coming to other school events, such as the Club and Resource Fair?
JP: I hope so. Since all the sports ended a few weeks ago, I’ve contacted Joshua to send me times of when the next events come up. He has mentioned the fair, but he hasn’t given me a time for it yet. I’m kind of in the dark on it myself. So we’ll see!
TB: What would you say are your favorite and least favorite aspects of being a mascot?
JP: I’d say the good part is, if you enjoy being the center of attention, you definitely get that. And the hard part is moving around. It’s definitely a workout to run around and such. Due to the thick, plush hands, it’s also difficult to grab stuff specifically. Also, since I’m shorter, if I want to get the leg movements down, I have to really hike my legs up high.
TB: It’s great to see a mascot around and adding liveliness to school events. Once you leave, do you hope that another student will take over?
JP: Definitely. I think if people have anxiety, they both should and shouldn’t do it, if that makes sense. It really puts you out there, but the anonymity of it keeps them safe. From my biased perspective, it brings a lot of happiness to people. And it’s especially great being one because there’s that whole Clark Kent versus Superman kind of thing. Where everyone wants to see the great big show, but you’re also inconspicuous.