Alumnus Schultz leads Milwaukee Mustangs’ Stampede
By Samantha Savaglio
Brent Schultz, a 2011 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, has been awarded the title of the Arena Football League's 2012 Mascot of the Year. He received the award recently, after only seven months of being the Milwaukee Mustangs' mascot, Stang the Mustang. He reflects on the experience of being Ranger D. Bear and how it has helped prepared him for his current role.
"Being a mascot was something I always wanted to try," claims Schultz, "I just needed an invitation."
After winning the role of Ranger Bear, he spent the next two years performing at on- and off-campus events including charity and sporting events. While he wasn't in-character, he served as a "Ranger Bear Handler"--acting as bodyguard, translator, and videographer for the mascot. Also, he spent time building props, creating skits, judging mascot tryouts, and writing the university's first-ever "Mascot Manual."
Both in and out of the costume, he helped develop RDB's animated personality, using large gestures and what he called "over the top antics"--traits he has carried over to his professional mascot career.
So, what's the secret to being a stand-out mascot? While other mascots walk around greeting guests, Schultz's Stang is noted for utilizing props to enhance his one-of-a-kind personality.
"I'm known for being fearless and agile in the suit; I'll climb rock-walls, jump on-stage during live concerts, enter bouncy-houses, and dance in traffic during stop-lights," he stated.
The unexpected is definitely expected when it comes to Schultz's performances. While this role can be exhausting, Shultz can't help but be drawn to it.
"When you're a mascot, the world is your playground, everybody wants to high-five you, and you get to be wacky as you want to be. There's nothing like being a mascot. For me, it's just pure fun!" he exclaims.
During home games, Schultz surprises and greets fans at the Bradley Center. Upon kick-off, his character is announced and he comes galloping out while waving his team flag. Throughout the game, he partakes in promotions while constantly interacting with the fans. His athleticism is demonstrated when the team scores a touchdown, as he leaps over the barrier wall to perform a touchdown dance. However, Stang is much more than a team mascot. He is a community icon, appearing in parades, charity events, and festivals, even during off-season.
Schultz credits his experiences at UW-Parkside for helping develop his skills.
"I definitely brought with me the enthusiasm, knowledge, and experience I gained from my days as Ranger Bear," he said. "I miss the huge bear muscles, bright white teeth, relatively wide vision to see out the mouth, Ranger Bear's fierce appetite for Starbucks coffee, and the camaraderie of the Ranger Bear team and support staff."As Stang the Mustang, Brent Schultz is now a professional--make that an award-winning professional--at combining crowd participation, character development, and parade tactics, transforming a lifeless costume into a beloved icon.