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HSL Goes Behind the Fur!

Public Relations

No one gets a crowd going quite like your favorite team’s mascot.  HSL went “behind the fur” in a crowd-pleasing Q&A with talented performers Barry Anderson and Carrie Norwood.  Led by surprise guest moderator, former Chicago Bull and three-time NBA Championship winner, Bill Wennington, the HSL team got a firsthand account of what it takes to bring to life beloved mascots Benny the Bull and Southpaw.

Both Barry Anderson and Carrie Norwood found their love of mascots in college.  As Monte the grizzly bear, Anderson brought new life to the University of Montana’s football games while Norwood, at the University of Iowa, became one of two women to don the Herky the Hawk suit for the first time in its 40-year history.

At the professional level, Anderson and Norwood helped to usher in a new wave of mascots to their teams.

Though the Chicago Bulls’ Benny became the first NBA Mascot in 1969, Anderson’s new incarnation of Benny the Bull was met with jeering ticketholders and disappointment. Working hard to win over fans with zany antics and acrobatic slam dunks, Anderson’s Benny would eventually be named Most Popular Sports Mascot by Forbes in 2013 and the NBA’s Mascot of the Year in 2015.  Like Anderson, Norwood faced challenges of her own when she stepped into the role of Southpaw on the character’s first birthday.  Chicago White Sox fans had not yet come to love the friendly green furball, but Norwood accepted the challenge and turned Southpaw into the fan favorite he is today.

While Anderson and Norwood regaled the HSL team with hilarious tales of hijinks and mishaps, it was the clear passion and care for their fans both on and off the field that shone through. Heartwarming stories of walking brides down the aisle, delighting children facing illness, and making one mother’s last Christmas even more treasured, are the true reason why Benny the Bull and Southpaw have become staples in the Chicagoland community.

The HSL team enjoyed learning what it’s like “behind the fur” and is inspired to continue working with organizations like the Bulls and White Sox.

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