Archive for Thursday, September 5, 2013

25 years ago: Big Jay and Baby Jay to step out in new feathers

September 5, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Sept. 5, 1988:

As any reader of the Velveteen Rabbit knows, the more something is loved, the more tattered it begins to look. Up on the Kansas University campus, Baby Jay was beginning to show his age. When inspecting the mascot's costume the previous spring, Debi Moore, Lawrence resident and former mascot during the 1970s, noticed that "the blue wings and pants were worn. The tailfeathers were cockeyed. The head and beak tended to lean forward and almost fall off." The old costumes were reported to have then gone through a "molting process" and had re-emerged in July, renovated in time for the fall semester. Both Baby Jay and Big Jay owed most of their new feathers to a nest egg consisting of $2,500 in donations from true-blue KU fans who had responded to Moore's call for pledges. The new professionally-made suits hewed close to the old styles, with one exception: "We are going to the bird feet instead of the cowboy boots," said costumer Pamela Bauer-Kane of Haysville. The suits were also made much lighter and more flexible to allow the birds to perform even more antics on the field. "KU is so built on tradition that we were afraid if we went too far it would not been as a new Jayhawk, but would be such a total change as to be unacceptable," said Bauer-Kane. "If you change too much, the alumni start squawking."


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