With the city currently in the throes of local awards fever, Milwaukee Record presents The Randoms, a series of highly specific and delightfully arbitrary “best of” awards that do away with pesky voting and feigned attempts at impartiality. Throughout the week, we’ll be recognizing the people, organizations, and places that help elevate life in Milwaukee. This week is sponsored by Boone & Crockett, 2016’s Best Bar With A Taco Truck Out Back (Bay View).
The Wisconsin sports landscape is cluttered with a cast of anthropomorphically-costumed men and women who are tasked with the difficult duty of entertaining fans, inspiring cheers, and making athletic contests more enjoyable for attendees of all age groups and socioeconomic levels. Beloved professional and Division 1 mascot mainstays like Bernie Brewer, Bucky Badger, Bango, and the drunken shirtless dudes with foam wedges of cheese on their head are each impressive in their own right. Even Hank The Dog is kind of cute in his own organizational desperation sort of way. But which mascot is the best? Simple: Bango Jr. Goddamn is that guy cute!
Now that we’ve settled that, let’s shift the focus to an oft-overlooked means of paid spirit-raising: The semi-professional mascot. The job requires all the sweat, vulnerability, and physicality of its professional equivalent, but at a fraction of the pay, fan fare, and with little (if any) of the televised glory. Still, these furry folks toil in anonymity on the sidelines and in the stands. The Lakeshore Chinooks have a respectable mascot in Gill, and, who knows, maybe the Milwaukee Wave have some sort of mascot, too. But this year, we’re tipping our oversized and removable head to acknowledge the work of Roscoe.
Back in 1998, during a Milwaukee Admirals’ rebranding effort, Roscoe was born. Though the AHL franchise has long operated with some variety of decorated naval official at the helm of its marketing strategy, Roscoe—an orange “sea dog” who still rocks a rat tail—presides over the game day experience, which is probably a more child-friendly option than having a decorated military skeleton roaming around its arena. Congrats to Roscoe on being less off-putting than a skeleton and a gigantic fish with legs.