By Ryan Gaeta
Wake up at 5 a.m., check for substitute teacher jobs at local schools, check-in with the Collegiate Future Farmers of America, continue working toward master’s agricultural credential, wait on tables during the weekend and, last but not least, suit up as Billy Bronco.
These are a few of the tasks that make up a typical week in the life of Stephen Daly, an agricultural master’s student and one of the six Billy Broncos.
Aside from subbing, waiting tables, contributing for a club he was once president of and working toward his master’s, Daly somehow finds the time to don the beloved Billy Bronco costume during home games and share the thing that makes Billy possible: passion.
Daly talked about passion and the other traits that allow him to gather his energy and put it all on display while he is his alter ego: Billy Bronco.
“Passion,” said Daly. “You’ve got to have passion to be Billy. Once you’re in a suit, you’re no longer who you are; you are the mascot. You are the horse, I should say. You’ve got to have energy. Billy’s very energetic, no matter who is Billy that day.Spontaneous. You’ve got to be very spontaneous–especially if the refs make a bad call or something.”
But it was not always smiles, made-up dance moves and crowd cheers for the multitasking student. Daly didn’t make the cut during last year’s Billy Bronco tryouts, but after overcoming his doubts, he laid it all on the line and pulled out his secret move to earn him a coveted slot as one of the Billy Broncos.
“I tried out last year and I didn’t make it, and I was a little sad,” said Daly. “Then, I saw that they were having tryouts this year, and I second-guessed myself, but I tried it again. I pulled out– I like to think it’s one of my signature moves– I call it the ‘flopping fish.’ It’s like the worm, but it’s backwards. So, I think that hit a home run for me at the tryouts.”
This student-by-day, mascot-by-night didn’t have extensive mascot experience before his work as Billy Bronco, but he is no stranger to having an alter-ego as he once was the mascot of a popular restaurant chain.
“I was working in Oceanside Red Lobster down in San Diego,” said Daly. “We were doing the multiple sclerosis walk, and they needed somebody to be [the Red Lobster mascot]: this horrific, like eight-legged suit. I said, ‘I’ll do it. That sounds like fun.’ It was 90 degrees and I guess I was just supposed to stay [in one spot], but I did the 3-mile walk in the suit.”
Now during “Billy-time,” as Daly puts it, he enjoys walking amongst the crowd during home games, hi-fiving eager hands, taking pictures with fans and falling to the ground laughing at the failed shots of opposing players. His favorite part about being CPP’s mascot, however, is how at games, and in the costume, he witnesses one eclectic gathering of school spirit.
“I know we’re not supposed to be considered a commuter school, but a lot of people commute and basketball games are my way of kind of blending in with everybody,” said Daly. “My favorite part is having people from all different aspects of this campus come together and show their school spirit.”
As for the future Billy Broncos chosen to prop school spirit on their backs and coerce even the most reluctant of “waves,” Daly has some valuable advice: to embody the character.
“Once I become Billy, I’m just Billy–that’s it,” said Daly. “Just be who you are. Incorporate something about yourself into Billy. Billy’s not just a mascot; he represents the staff, the faculty, the students: the spirit of everything. So, when you become Billy you’ve got to incorporate yourself too, you’ve got to share yourself.”
Jenilee Umali/The Poly Post
Cal Poly mascots revealed
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