Two SHSU alumni in top pick for next Astros mascot
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 21:10
Two alumni of Sam Houston State University have made the list of the top 10 mascots who have a unique opportunity to serve as the next mascot for the Houston Astros.
Trent Coots, 2009 graduate, and Zane Thrift, 2012 graduate, both made the cut after rigorous, fast-paced audition process that started with 50 mascot hopefuls from all over the country in late Sept.
According to Coots the journey to the top 10 began with a formal interview at Minute Maid Park with all 50 contestants. From there, the judges selected 10 for an interaction round where participants dressed in a polar bear costume, come up with a one minute skit to present and interact with an audience.
For Coots, the nature of the audition was different from anything he’d experienced before after mascot auditions in Tampa Bay Rays and the Dallas Cowboys.
"I’m used to formal auditions with a long interview, but at this audition we had such a short time to put the skits together," Coots said. "I was very nerve-racking because it was so public with a lot of fan involvement. It was difficult to adjust."
However, Coots said his time as Sammy the Bearkat from 2004 to 2009 helped prepare well for the process. As a theater major,
Coots said he had an affinity of interacting with audiences early on, but the role of mascot offered something more.
"Being a mascot allows me to get up close and personal with the audience," he said. "I can see the laughter on kids’ and adults’ faces as they enjoy my performance and it’s just much more intimate to see their reactions."
Although they are competitor for the same position, Coots said that being able to work with Thrift, another former Sammy, is not only a rare chance for them, but also for the SHSU community.
"It’s been awesome to have two alumni in a national contest among so many people from all over," Coots said. "I want [Thrift] to do well and we’ve stuck together through [the entire process.]"
Coots noted the importance of Bearkat spirit and support for both of, especially now in the last string of the long audition process
"We worked so hard to bring joy and entertainment to SHSU and now we need [SHSU community’s] help to continue to do what we love," Coots said. "We need people to vote early and vote often."
People can now cast their vote for Coots and Thrift to be the next Astros mascot by visiting www.Astros.com, clicking on mascot talent contest. Voting will close on Thursday, after which, the top 4 participants will meet back at Minute Maid park, according to Coots. You can also find a video of Coots one minute skit on Youtube.