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Second tryouts to be held for ‘personality’ of UNK

Adam Bustinza was the first student to try out for Louie the Loper this year.

At the Louie the Loper tryouts last week, UNK sophomore, Adam Bustinza became the new man behind the mask. However, the search has not ended for another person to be Louie’s secret identity.

Even though Bustinza was the only applicant, he has high hopes for the mascot.

“I just want to bring more of a personality to where people can actually see (Louie) and actually want to approach him instead of just being a mascot where they want to take pictures real quick,” Bustinza said.

Bustinza is a sophomore psychobiology major at UNK, but before that, he dressed as the Bridgeport High School bulldog. He also has a background in hip-hop dancing, swing choir, spring play and one acts.

On the day of the tryout, he was studying with friends when a cheerleader called him about the opportunity. Without rehearsing, Bustinza walked from the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity to the Health and Sports Center.

The tryout was viewed by a panel of judges, including Athletic Director Marc Bauer, Director of Ticket Operations Alex Alber, Manager of Marketing and Promotions Natalie Hagan, Head Dance Coach Sarah McCarty and Head Cheerleading Coach Krista Williams.

The process involved an interview and an improvised performance with the UNK cheer team.

While in costume, Bustinza also interacted with the children at the Early Childhood Education Center where he was greeted by both tears and smiles.     

“When they cried, I felt a little bad because I kind of understood they were really small kids,” Bustinza said. “But when they got excited, it was really fun to see how happy they were to see me.”

After his tryout, Bustinza was offered the job and $500 per semester as long as he is in the friendly antelope suit.

He already has a support system of resources, including Ryan Teten, the dean of the college of arts and sciences. In his college days, Teten was the Tiger Cub mascot for Clemson University in South Carolina.

Since then, Teten has trained mascots at other colleges, and wants to enhance the mascot experience at UNK.

“When we were mascot-ing, we used to ensure that every football game we kind of had different skits or props or materials, so I think a lot of it will just be learning how to engage different groups of people, whether it be at an alumni event or at an elementary school,” Teten said. “It’s an unparalleled opportunity to act a fool, and have 30,000 people want you to do it, so it’s just more fun than anything I could probably put into words.”

These efforts will develop Louie’s character even further.

“I’m glad we have somebody to fill this role because Adam really sets the bar,” Bauer said. “And even though we’re Division II, they have like mascot camps and things that (Teten) said you can get sent to, and it’s so much fun.”

Until then, the UNK Athletic Department is looking for one more student to step up.

While there is not a set date for a second tryout, students can look at the UNK Athletics social media, UNK social media, the campus bulletin and flyers for more updates. Students can also contact Alex Alber directly if there is a strong interest in the position.

Whoever takes on the character’s persona, will have their hands full from the start.

“Louie will not have this first semester off, even though sports are sparse,” Alber said. “He will be very active throughout the community, and we look forward to spreading Loper Pride.”

All students are encouraged to apply. 


wearing a helmet that no one can see you in, and no one’s going to know it’s you,” Bustinza said. “So I mean, you don’t really need to be afraid to act a fool out there.

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