It’s a stealth mission. Even the slightest sound could spook the unsuspecting targets.
Just before whistles blow and horns sound at J.K. Stanley Gymnasium, Bucky the Bronco springs into action. His target: two “zebras,” the referees tasked with officiating games at Boyd.
Bucky the Bronco has mastered the art of surprising referees this year, one of the many tactics the Boyd mascot – played by Evan Wilson – has used to rile up the home crowd.
“I try to get close to them and just mimic their actions,” said Wilson. “The big thing though is to not get a technical.”
Leading fans in YMCA, charging out to bugles playing over the loudspeakers and generally doing whatever it takes to entertain the crowd, Bucky has been a highlight at Boyd this season. At each timeout, all eyes turn to the Boyd mascot.
And his eyes usually turn to the referees.
Unsuspecting referees have been easy prey for the mascot, many of whom find his antics humorous. None, however, have yet accepted his invitations for dance-offs at center court.
It’s probably because they’ve seen Bucky’s signature move firsthand.
“I love doing the worm. I think the crowd likes it the most,” said Wilson.
His forays with referees don’t always end with a laugh though. During one game this season, Bucky was firing up the crowd during play. In the midst of his passionate pleas on the narrow sideline, he collided with a referee and was sent sprawling to the court.
In Wilson’s estimation, that comes with the territory.
“I was firing up the crowd and didn’t realize action was moving up behind me,” said Wilson. “You just have to roll with it.”
It is the first year Wilson has been the man behind the mask. It wasn’t a difficult selection for Boyd athletic director Ryan Mason, who knew firsthand that the Boyd sophomore could fill the shoes of the school mascot.
“Evan was the first student I asked. I knew his personality would fit well with being Bucky,” said Mason.
The Boyd sophomore relishes the role, and would love to be a part of a team with other county mascots. He still has some time to make plans.
Evan plans on reprising his role until he graduates. He has more tricks up his sleeve, but he’s keeping them under warps before unleashing them on his passionate fanbase.
It’s just part of the mascot world, one always filled with secrecy.