“Mascoting,” as the pros call it, is an exclusive furternity. One has to embody the skills of an actor, athlete, mime, prankster, comedian, improvisor, stunt professional and more. Above all, the best mascots never take themselves too seriously.
Minnesota has quite a few sports mascots roaming around this time of year, so obviously we ranked them.
Power-ranking sports mascots is probably more art than science — you just know one when you see it — and our list will probably differ from yours. While one person might think Prowl, of the Minnesota Lynx, has the most beautiful eyes of any mascot, others might think Prowl is the most terrifying mascot ever.
If you must know our ranking methods, we put the mascots to rigorous physical testing. We wanted to know: How fast can they fold and toss a T-shirt? How flexible are they? Who’s the best dancer?
What we found might surprise you.
The loon is the official state bird of Minnesota but North American soccer fans may also know the loon as the mascot of Minnesota United FC, the franchise that will become Major League Soccer’s 22nd team, beginning play next year. Unveiled in July 2014, P.K. is Minnesota’s newest sports mascot, but he’s not the first loon mascot to grace our fine state. Before T.C. Bear, the mascot for the Minnesota Twins in 1980-81 was a loon named “Twinkie.” United officials tell us that P.K. is not an abbreviation for anything and that some fans call P.K. Foot Foot instead. OK, now we are just confused.
We like our mascots to look tough (no offense, T.C. and Nordy) but the Lynx’s Prowl is downright horrifying. We had a hard time drumming up information about Prowl (no information available here: lynx.wnba.com/prowl), but we looked Prowl straight in the eyes and can tell you we haven’t slept well since. Those eyes are unnerving — the kind of stuff nightmares are made of. If you want to freak out your kid, Prowl is available for birthday parties and elementary school visits.
The happy-go-lucky mascot for the Minnesota Twins is all about the kids (and the ladies, see below). And for good reason. He has them to thank for making it on the team. When the Twins were struggling with getting families to games in the late 1990s, elementary school students voted for T.C. from a selection of mascots. He has been giving back to them ever since. T.C. might not look like the most athletic bear, but he is a home run powerhouse. T.C. is a perennial winner of the Mascot Home Run Derby Championship. He also caught a foul ball in his mouth once. Perhaps T.C. could lend his talents to his other teammates. We wish T.C. could talk and answer just one question: Where are your pants?
Crunch developed a passion for basketball as a young pup. He practiced so much in the woods of northern Minnesota that he eventually learned to dribble on his hind legs and dunk as well as the best NBA players in the country. When Crunch joined the team, he became a true showman. His job is to foil the opponent’s free-throws by leading the crowd in a thunderous howl. He’s also an impressive dunker having done so while wearing in-line skates. Crunch also has the patience it takes to be a great mascot. One time, when a group of kids dropped him during a photo op, Crunch kept his cool and didn’t eat them.
If Dog the Bounty Hunter and a very large Scandinavian woman had a baby, Viktor the Viking would be it. The strapping, blond, mustachioed mascot for the Vikings is everything you want a mascot to be: intimidating, confident and tall (6 feet 5!). We wonder, might Viktor be free to play on the offensive line? Viktor’s back story is straight from Norse mythology. Some say he was kin to Thor, the Thunder God himself. Viktor’s off-field pastimes include bear trapping, lion taming and cheese grating. He also dabbles in blood donation and basketball. Despite those beefy muscles, Viktor could use a little practice in the T-shirt-tossing department. And though he doesn’t ride a Harley onto the field, he’s there to put a smile on fans’ faces and that is priceless. Ragnar who?
Nordy is in the eye of the beholder. That’s a nice way of answering: What the heck is he? A bear? A fox? A fuzzy dog? According to Nordy’s page on the Minnesota Wild’s website, no one truly knows what kind of animal he is, but legend says he was born on the Iron Range and found skating the frozen lakes and ponds near Eveleth. Despite the icy reception Nordy received when he joined the Wild in 2008, he proved himself quickly as a bona fide hockey player with some of the best flow in the game (that’s hockey lingo for hair). Mullet and identity crisis aside, Nordy is cuddly and cute, and always smiling — even when the Wild face off against the Blackhawks in the playoffs. Outside of hockey, Nordy likes to golf and impersonate the Purple One. He also gets points for taking on the Red Bull Crashed Ice course, though it didn’t end well.
What’s not to like about an overweight, pink, flamboyant, furry pig? Lacking nothing in the confidence department, Mudonna calls herself the divine swine, the diva of the diamond, the duchess of pork. Her antics at CHS Field are legendary. Although she has to share the spotlight with a REAL pig, Mudonna hogs the show with her dance moves. Nobody shakes their bacon better than Mudonna. Besides dancing, Mudonna’s personal interests include T.C. Bear, shoe shopping and mud.
With his giant buck teeth and toothish grin, Goldy is cuter than the gopher in “Caddyshack.” Don’t let that smile fool you, though — it’s probably at his rival Bucky’s expense. Goldy is the ultimate mascot because he’s athletic, mischievous and he’s enbronzed in statue form outside of Coffman Memorial Union. You have to be pretty legit to get a bronze statue. Goldy competes in the Mascot National Championships and regularly places in the top three. His signature move is a head-spinning trick, which pumps up the crowd as they chant “spin your head!” He’s so famous for spinning his head that the New York Times wrote about it.