New students on campus may notice a particular charismatic horse roaming around. Don’t be alarmed. He’s Blaze, the school mascot.
Blaze is filled with tons of energy and can be found rallying fans at home games. Although he can’t yell or cheer, he finds a way to get crowds loud and rowdy by using hand gestures, dances and overall charisma.
“Inside the suit, you’ve got to have a great personality, be very open and be very outgoing,” sophomore cheerleader Alyssa Davis said. “When you get into the suit you have to use that same personality. You can’t speak, you’ve just got to do it with your hands, like your motions.”
Imagine having a big box that you have to bring to life through motion. Being Blaze is more than just walking around in a suit, it’s about capturing the essence of a horse that doesn’t speak and livening the spirits of Maverick fans.
Blaze was originally conceived after students voted on a new UTA logo and an overall re-branding effort in the spring of 2007. Originally, the mascot was Sam Maverick, who had a cowboy persona, but that November a big white horse debuted at basketball games in Texas Hall. The name Blaze was chosen through online voting.
Blaze was the reason for the birth of the Blazer Crew, the new spirit group that supports UTA athletic events.
“[He’s the] icon of UTA athletics,” Blazer Crew member Hunter Brown said. “He’s the Maverick. He’s what everyone looks to as far as school spirit goes.”
Blaze is a symbol and his challenge as that symbol is to ensure the electricity in the air is constantly flowing. When UTA teams are trailing, it’s his responsibility to keep the mood in the arena a positive one.
Being the school mascot is not a walk in the park. There is a lot more that goes into it.
“[It] takes a lot of guts and a lot of energy, a lot of pride in oneself and one’s school to be a mascot and to be Blaze.” Sophomore cheerleader Ryan Hill said. “It takes a lot of responsibility to be the face of a university.”
Blaze appears not only at sporting events, but events around campus, like the second birthday of the Maverick Activities Center. He also pops up around Arlington — notably Rangers Ballpark for “UTA Night at the Ballpark”— where he rallied a pre-game crowd with Rangers’ Captain, the Texas Rangers’ mascot.
Anyone interested in becoming Blaze is encouraged to contact the spirit groups that are found in the MAC.
“As we need Blazes, we’ll put flyers up,” spirit group coordinator Will Strother said. “But interested students can either inquire about being Blaze, or my assistant coach Tyrone [Smith] will go out and recruit and ask students if they would like to be Blaze.”
Those who think they have what it takes to be Blaze must be able to show that they can portray his character. Charisma, gutsiness and a love for the UTA campus bring Blaze alive and electrify his crowds.
Next time you see Blaze dancing on the court, realize he’s more than just an animated creature. He’s a representative of the school who roams with his school’s pride on his shoulders. He stomps. He waves. He dances and does everything he can to show his passion and spirit for the university.