Acting up: Award-winning Regal finishes final year

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, October 6, 2018
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Sideline Jester

SIDELINE JESTER – Regal Eagle, Aidan Cottrell, pumps up the crowd during a recent football game. Cottrell finished second in the state last year in a mascot competition and plans to return to the Citrus Bowl in January. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

To Aidan Cottrell, the key to being a good mascot is not taking yourself too serious.

“The whole premise of being a mascot is never stop being an idiot, which is something I excel at,” Cottrell explained.

While clowning around is a big part of the gig, the three-year Decatur mascot is serious about his craft. As Regal Eagle, Cottrell earned a trip to the Citrus Bowl last January and then finished second in a state competition earlier this year.

With a theater background, Cottrell first got the notion to audition for the mascot from a friend’s mother.

“She said, ‘you should try out.’ I auditioned and got it,” Cottrell said. “I went to the cheer and mascot camp and absolutely fell in love with it.

“I’ve been an actor since I was 3 and always enjoyed acting. I enjoy comedy and the reaction.”

Cottrell didn’t quite know what he was taking on and how hot it gets in August and September in the mascot suit in Texas. He quickly learned that it’s 40 degrees warmer in the suit than the air temperature.

“His first year, he’d never been to a football game before,” said Decatur cheer sponsor Celine Howerton. “He’s active, there’s a lot of danger wearing that in the heat. He now has his own manager to watch him.

“He went into it 120 percent and has not stopped. He’s an exceptional mascot. I’ve never had anyone like him.”

Cottrell enjoys performing for any crowd, but really lights up when getting to entertain children.

“When they see me and their faces light up, they are like ‘Regal Eagle!’ They don’t leave me alone at games, which is so much fun,” Cottrell said. “I just love making people happy.”

He comes up with many of his skits. He’s not afraid to steal bits from other mascots and make them his own like spraying the crowd with Eagle Fight.

While at the Citrus Bowl last year with the United Cheerleading Association, Cottrell learned about the state competition a few weeks later. He quickly put together a routine and joined the contest with 12 of the best mascots in the state.

“I had three weeks to throw together a skit, which had categories for audience interaction, originality, surprise and movement to music,” he said.

Out of 300 possible points, he received 270 to finish just three points out of first.

The senior is now planning a return trip to Florida for the Citrus Bowl. As his days are numbered as Decatur’s Eagle, Cottrell is already turning his attention to becoming a mascot on the next level and hopefully one day for a professional team.

“I am hoping to not only do it in college, but be so good that they say, ‘he’s so good, here’s some money,'” Cottrell said. “Some colleges give full rides to a good mascot. I also hope to do it professionally for an NBA, NHL or NFL team.”

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