Behind the Birdhead: Thor’s Reveal

Posted: May 02, 2019 | Author: Lexi Carter | Read Time: 5 minutes

Austin Adams holding the mascot headCharging any room he walks into with thunder and electric energy, the Southern Utah University mascot is more than a bird - he’s an icon. Named after the God of Thunder himself, Thor wields his own Mjolnir at sporting and community events, dazzling the crowds with his lightning smile and high energy.

Many students have donned the birdhead throughout the years, and we are excited to reveal graduating senior and biology major Austin Adams as the 2018-19 school year Thor! Learn more about Austin’s time as Thor in this exclusive Q&A.

How long have you been Thor for?

Just this school year, my first event was the Tour of Utah last summer.

What made you want to become Thor?

I was the mascot in high school, and I had a ton of fun, so I decided back then that it would be awesome to take it to the next level and try to be a college mascot.

What has been your favorite memory as Thor?

This was the hardest question, there are literally too many amazing memories to write. Leading the football team onto the field for the homecoming game was amazing. The stadium was packed, and everyone was going crazy; it was awesome being in front of all that.

The most hyped I ever got was probably during our Men’s Basketball win against Drake in the postseason. It was unreal being there for our first-ever postseason tournament win. The crowd was louder than I had ever heard it. Playing the drums for the crowd, playing knockerball, and everything else I did that game was just bigger than I had done it before.

I liked a lot more than just athletic events though. It was awesome going to schools and smaller events around town and being recognized. I loved the kids at all the games who recognized me and would make an effort to come high five me or give me a hug. Those were the most rewarding moments all year.

How did you keep your identity a secret all year?

So, I’m terrible at keeping secrets. My closest friends definitely knew that I was Thor. As far as coworkers and classmate friends go, I just tried to change the subject when they were talking about going to games and stuff. If they asked if I was at a game I would either tell them no or that I had to leave part-way through and that’s why they didn’t see me. Basically, I lied a lot.

How did your friends/family react to finding out you were Thor?

Almost everyone said that they were super surprised. People who don’t know me well think that I’m pretty quiet, reserved, and laid back. They never expect someone like that to be a mascot. My closest friends thought that it was fitting because they see the more energetic, goofy side of me.

What does it mean to you to be SUU's mascot?

It’s incredible being the face of a school that means so much to me. I love SUU, and I love being able to represent it in the most recognizable way. I felt like I had to be the best mascot I could be in order to adequately represent how great this school is.

What have you learned as Thor?

I’ve learned that way too many college students are afraid of mascots. Honestly, there were probably more students afraid of me than little kids. I learned that a lot of planning and practice goes into every athletic event. From the cheerleaders practicing constantly, to the AV people getting the cameras ready, every athletic event is a massive production, I gained a lot more respect for the athletic department for all the hard work they do.

What type of training goes into being the mascot?

I didn’t have a daily workout regimen or strict diet or anything like that, I was still very much a regular dude.

I went to a few practices with the cheerleaders so I could practice the stunt where they all lifted me up. I would say the biggest thing was just to stay healthy and somewhat active. I needed to stay fit enough to sprint across a football field in a mascot costume and then run around for another four hours.

I did practice throwing and catching stuff while wearing the head. Being able to see out of that doesn’t come very easily.

Most people don’t know this, but the inside of mascot costumes is, on average, 30 to 40 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. The biggest “training” I had to do was to learn how to not die from heat.

How else have you been involved as a student at SUU?

I was on the drumline my freshman year, and that was a super fun experience. My friend Kaitlyn and I hosted a radio show on Thunder 91.1 for three semesters. I’m also a nerd, so I’ve been a TA for multiple biology classes.

What are your future plans?

I’m moving to Richfield right after graduation to work for the Division of Wildlife Resources. I eventually want to be a wildlife biologist. Ironically, my dream is to work with birds.

What does it mean to be a T-Bird?

Being a T-Bird to me means working hard and becoming the person you want to be. I started school thinking that college was just a stepping stone, just something I had to get out of the way in order to do what I really wanted. I had some professors, especially Dr. Rachel Bolus, who taught me that college is not just a stepping stone, it’s the time where you can become the person you want to be.

Being a T-Bird is getting involved with all the awesome activities and athletic events at school. It’s having your professors know your name. It’s wearing red on Fridays, even during school breaks. Being a T-Bird is becoming the best version of yourself and helping others.

Everyone is different, but everyone has potential to do awesome things. From the starting quarterback to the undecided freshman, from the theater professor to the mascot, everybody can make this school and the world a little better. That’s what it means to be a T-Bird.


Tags: Student Athletics

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