The University of Colorado mascot, Chip, brought home his second national championship trophy after bagging first place in the 2010 Universal Cheerleading Association's mascot competition over the weekend.
Three of Chip's handlers, seniors Sam Koerbel, Brendan Bradley and Steve Owens beamed while holding the back-to-back trophies and medals and sporting their 2009 national championship rings at Folsom Field on Tuesday as they anxiously await the 2010 rings.
"In years past, we really haven't been an iconic mascot in the UCA," said Koerbel. "But in the past four or five years, we've really been able to go from a no-name to one of the biggest, most competitive mascots in the country."
The competition tallies half of the points for a pre-submitted video and the other half for a skit at the competition, which was held in Orlando, Fla., last weekend.
Chip earned a head start by entering the weekend with a first-place video in November.
For the skit, the handlers created "Chip's Dance Party," which fused different genres of music -- from a jukebox playing "Twist and Shout" up to an iPod blasting Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA."
It was the crowd involvement that helped Chip pull ahead of the pack, said Koerbel.
"There were maybe 2,000 people there and not a single person didn't have their hands going left to right in the air," he said. "Everybody was screaming and cheering -- that probably gave us the upper hand among a lot of really stiff competition."
Owens said the props, skit and
"Chip is all about being big -- being larger than life," said Owens. "He's a character, not a person. He's out there to entertain."
Bradley said this achievement is "pretty huge" for CU.
"The mascot party with CU has always been centered around Ralphie," said Bradley. "A goal of ours has been to take Chip out of Ralphie's shadow and have him running along next to Ralphie and getting him noticed."
Chip's job year-round is to support the university athletic events in the local community.
The handlers said the title helps gain positive national attention for CU.
"It really puts the University of Colorado out there as a contender as someone who is respectable and does a lot of good things for the cheer community," said Bradley.
Senior Tara Molloy said she is not surprised Chip is an award-winning mascot based on the spirit of the college as a whole.
"CU always has a ton of school spirit," said Molloy. "Students here are always willing to support school events and ... Chip is also very spirited."
Sophomore Carrie Gallaher said she enjoys watching Chip interact with the students on game days.
"He was fun to watch and always entertaining, even during boring games," said Gallaher.
Which is exactly what Chip's goal is, said Owens.
"It's not just the national championship that we want," said Owens. "Of course, that is awesome -- but our main goal is to come right here on the (Folsom Field) horseshoe and make these students laugh and get the whole crowd energized. We're part of the game day experience.
"We're one of the symbols of this university."
Reporter Whitney Bryen contributed to this story.