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Being Thundar: NDSU’s mascot describes his experience

He has been a cheering, posing, entertaining kids and dancing on the sidelines for the past five football seasons. Saturday will be his last game as NDSU’s mascot Thundar.

“I will cry like a baby after the game because my time at NDSU has been an incredible experience,” he said.

Cody Rowe moved to North Dakota from Hawaii in 2014 as a first-year student. He had nothing to lose, so he applied to be Thundar after receiving an e-mail from the Department of Athletics. During try-outs, he put on the mascot suit and said he felt a new persona taking over, ultimately landing him the position as Thundar. Rowe attended Universal Cheerleading Association’s camp that summer to learn how to be a mascot.

Rowe has kept his alter ego under wraps, telling only his parents and work supervisor. In addition to his job as Thundar, he was involved in Greek life on campus. His fraternity brothers found out because it was hard to hide his large mascot suit bags.

In comparison, he says Thundar is a lot cooler and more outgoing than Rowe. “When the suit goes on, it’s an instant switch for me,” he said. “Jumping into the stands is when you feel like a rock star.”

One of his best experiences in the mascot costume was visiting kids at the Sanford Children’s Hospital with the men’s basketball team. He said the children’s faces lit up as soon as Thundar entered the room.

Rowe graduated with a social science education major in December and is currently substitute teaching in the West Fargo School District. He credits teaching and his work at a daycare in West Fargo throughout college for his ability to interact with children.

“Being Thundar has been awesome,” he said. “I’m grateful to everyone who put me in a position to be successful,” he said.

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Vice President for University Relations
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-1068 - Fax: (701) 231-1989
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