By Nick Hartman:
(KANSAS CITY, MO): What comes to mind when you hear the word, “Mascot”? You might think of entertainment for all ages, an awesomely-crazy guy dressed in a suit who hasn’t grown out of his childhood, or you might think of Mac, Blue, KC Wolf, or Sluggerrr. All of these connect with one person, a man who literally runs the Kansas City mascot industry. He’s either in the suit, or directing the guy in the suit. He is “The Mascot of KC” and he is entertainment, an awesomely-crazy guy who hasn’t grown out of his childhood.
His name is Andrew Johnson. Some call him Horse, others call him Drew, while others call him the Lion Tamer. He just may have the best job in the world because he gets to entertain Kansas City with his mascoting talent.
“My favorite part about my job is the fact that it gives me a platform to talk and get to know people,” said Andrew Johnson when asked his favorite thing about his job. “Even outside the mascot costume, I get the opportunity to meet a lot of cool people and I am constantly doing something new. It is cool that it really gives me a way to speak to people and talk to them about what’s going on.”
Andrew is in his third season of being the Mascot Coordinator at the Missouri Mavericks where he serves as playing the role of Mac- the Missouri Mavericks Mascot. Some of his responsibilities include: developing the character of the Missouri Mavericks mascot, facilitating all outside requests for sponsors, charities, media and private functions, skit writing & execution, video writing & execution, and creating and maintaining a social media presence for the character.
“Hands down, he is the best mascot I’ve ever seen,” said Maverick’s fan, and wife of Maverick’s team captain Sebastien Thinel, Ashley Thinel. “For a horse that can’t talk, he has so much expression. He makes everyone feel special who come around him. My kids especially love him, well to be honest, they are obsessed with him! At the beginning of every season, my kids are more excited about being reunited with Mac than watching their Papa play hockey!”
“As for Mac, he is a special breed of horse… He is a skater, a mood healer as he cheers people of all ages, a fundraiser, an inspiration for all mascots, everywhere… Most importantly, he is a Maverick. Our team and the Orange Army would be less without him,” said another Maverick fan Anthony Calandra. “As for the man behind the horse, I would say he is one of the most dedicated, motivated, and charismatic people. Andrew learned how to skate, enhancing his character’s abilities, showmanship, and strength among the fans…People of all ages interact with him. Andrew is the only person who can bring Mac to life!”
“I think Mac is the best mascot in KC!” said another Maverick fan, Kandi Kenyon. “He always gets the crowd going, no matter what’s going on on the ice and always seems to have time for the fans. He’s a great presence to have representing the Mavs team and organization. He makes the adults feel like giddy kids and kids feel like they’re someone special and that they’ve met a celebrity… Maybe it’s a mascot thing? But Andrew does a great job.”
“Missouri Mavericks hockey is great but what makes a Mavs home game amazing is Mac,” said another Maverick fan, Tracy Rogers. “Mac’s interactions with the fans far exceed any I’ve seen from other mascots anywhere with kids and with adults. Even when the boys are losing, Mac keeps the crowd entertained and in the game. Mac has a unique personality that can’t be imitated by others. On a personal note, Mac just makes me smile and my family likes to poke fun at me for adoring Mac. Last December I lost my mom so 2013 got off to a rough start for me. Each and every game a wave, hug or horse kiss from Mac just brings a little sunshine to my day. On Valentines Day Mac came to see me at work and that is definitely a favorite memory. Not only did I grin ear to ear all day, but so did my hard-working staff. There isn’t enough chocolate in the world to say thank you but I will keep trying”
Horse is the In-Game Mascot Performer at Sporting KC. He performs as Blue and always entertains the crowd. Andrew also is a Mascot Assistant with the Kansas City Royals, helping Sluggerrr prepare for his appearances at Kauffman Stadium. His main jobs there are to assist the mascot in nightly duties including skit preparation, handling of props, pregame routines, and promotions, participation in skits, interactive games, videos and other events, During the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, he helped coordinate transportation, in-game presentations, and appearance logistics for all Major League Baseball mascots.
Finally, Andrew is the mascot alternate for the KC Wolf. He replaces the head mascot when needed and he makes community appearances, when needed.
“My goal in this whole thing is to be a character with character,” said Andrew Johnson. “I want to be a good mascot in entertaining but I also want to live my life in a way that I can be a role model and exemplify good character every day in my life.”
As you can see, Andrew has had quite an extensive background and does all this mascot work while still juggling college. Andrew graduates in August with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in marketing. He hopes to one day start his own business contracting with different sports teams or get a full-time job in sports.