The Price of Pride

A look at some of the costs associated with Goldy Gopher.

Luke Feuerherm

It costs the University of Minnesota thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of work each year to boast one of the nationâÄôs top mascots.
Goldy Gopher is expected to make about 500 appearances annually, including at nearly all University sporting events as well as private functions.
The wear and tear Goldy takes means each suit must be replaced about every two to three years, University spokesman Dan Wolter said.
And each outfit comes with a $2,800 price tag.
In comparison, an August edition of ESPN The Magazine reported that a pair of boots for Michigan StateâÄôs mascot âÄúSpartyâÄù cost $2,650.
The Goldy costume is cleaned after every appearance by the students who play it, in order to avoid âÄúthe hockey smell,âÄù mascot coach Mike Elder said. The head, however, goes a month or two between cleans.
âÄúGoldy is the face of the University of Minnesota,âÄù Elder said. âÄúKids and adults donâÄôt want to see a smelly-looking mascot with fingers falling apart.âÄù
And while the number of students who play the mascot is a closely guarded secret, each is expected to spend four hours practicing and two hours weightlifting a week.
The regimen helps assure students can keep up with GoldyâÄôs busy schedule. Last weekend, for example, Goldy spent Saturday night at a wedding and played in the mascots versus kids match at SundayâÄôs Vikings game.
Renting Goldy for an hour costs $100 for a non-sporting campus event and $200 for private events, like last weekendâÄôs wedding.

$2,800 – The cost of one Goldy suit
$87.86 – Cost of materials used for special costumes last year
$70.43 – Cost of GoldyâÄôs workout gear used for training
$200 – Cost per hour for a private Goldy appearance
2 hours – Time Goldy spends a week weight lifting
2-3 years – Average age of a Goldy suit