Team mascots head to Topeka boot camp

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas State’s Willie the Wildcat and the Kansas City Royals’ Slugger are among the team mascots spending the week training to pump up crowds.

Mascot Boot Camp runs Monday through Wednesday at Washburn University in Topeka. Other mascots participating include Washburn’s Ichabod and “Mac” of the Central Hockey League’s Missouri Mavericks.

The camp’s leader is David Raymond, who spent more than 16 years as the Phillie Phanatic, the mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies. He’s now the owner of Raymond Entertainment Group and the self-styled “emperor of fun and games.”

Boot camp participants will learn about costume management and care, physical demands, business management and logistics. But a Washburn University news release says the top item on the agenda is the “art of working a crowd.”

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