Anonymously Yours

A University tradition 63 years in the making

Goldy Gopher pumps up the crowd during kick off at TCF Bank Stadium as the Gophers face Texas Christian University on Sept. 3.

Liam James Doyle, Daily File Photo

Goldy Gopher pumps up the crowd during kick off at TCF Bank Stadium as the Gophers face Texas Christian University on Sept. 3.

Jackie Renzetti

Her oversized maroon bow fluttering, a girl hardly older than 5 hustled down the bleachers at TCF Bank Stadium. At the end of the steps, Goldy Gopher reduced her to fairylike giggles with a tap on the nose. 

Moments later, zooming down the end zone on a scooter, the high-fiving, fist-bumping mascot commanded the attention of the rowdy student section.

At the University of Minnesota homecoming football face-off, the larger-than-life gopher spent nearly all of the game’s 191 minutes entertaining the crowd and its individual members — a high-octane activity reflective of what it takes to be one of the nation’s best mascots. 

“The general public does not understand the hours that go into it,” said Adam DeVault, a mascot instructor at Universal Cheerleaders Association. “It is a full-time job being a college mascot at a big-time university. You are everywhere.”

A select crew of University students covers around 500 annual Goldy appearances. Despite the strenuous workload of events and behind-the-scenes preparation, those who wear the suit reject personal recognition. Since 1952, a long line of energetic entertainers has promised anonymity to create the image of one real and perpetually grinning bucktoothed gopher.

“Goldy is the mashup of all the personalities that hundreds of people have brought to him,” said Clint Schaff, who served as Goldy from 1996 to 1997. “Goldy is the star of this thing — not any of us.”

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