Sebastian the Ibis of the University of Miami Hurricanes is once again participating in the Wawa Mascot Games, benefiting New Hope for Kids, at the Amway Center in Orlando.
The fun-filled, two-day event features professional and collegiate mascots from throughout North America. They are split into teams, competing for the coveted Mascot Games trophy.
Last year, Sebastian helped the OUC The Reliable One Green Team win day two, and he is now ready for the 2016 version.
Q&A with Sebastian the Ibis
Note: Mascots do not talk, so he answered through written word via email.
JV: How many Mascot Games is this for you?
SI: This will be my 14th Games, having participated since 2002
JV: What can be said about the Mascot Games benefiting New Hope for Kids?
SI: It is a great event that brings big smiles every year. New Hope is a great organization with wonderful and caring workers and volunteers. It is one of my favorite events to be at.
JV: Last year, you were on a winning team. You hoisted the trophy and kissed it.
What did winning mean to you? How special was it and why?
SI: It gets pretty competitive between the mascots, but we just want to put on a good show. Being able to lift up the trophy and share it with the fans that cheered us on was nice.
JV: Have you been doing any special training to prepare for the Games?
SI: I am always ready. In fact, I actually stopped my training a week before the Mascot Games in order to give some of the weaker mascots, like Albert from The University of Florida, a chance. No one wants to see a blowout, so maybe this year I won't embarrass him too bad.
JV: Are you looking to gain bragging rights over Albert, Alberta, Knightro and any other college mascots at the Games?
SI: I already feel like I own those bragging rights over the college mascots so my focus on is the professional mascots. Fin from the NHL's Vancouver Canucks has always been a formidable opponent. We have a lot of Canadians visiting South Florida over the winter, so it would be nice to be able to top him at the Games this year.
JV: What mascot(s) has impressed you at the Games?
SI: Albert from UF has really stepped up his cheer game. That chomp he does to motivate his fans used to be downright awful; now it is just terrible. He finally figured out how to make his hands touch. Good for him.
JV: How do you feel about carrying the banner, representing The U, at the Mascot Games?
SI: I am always carrying that banner. This time I am the competitor, which is a unique twist. Hopefully my fans will motivate me to another win.
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About the Mascot Games
The Mascot Games is returning to the Amway Center in June for two entertaining shows – 12:30 p.m. Friday, June 17 and 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18 – in Orlando.
Hosted by New Hope for Kids, the 23rd annual event is presented by Wawa, the prominent convenience retail store chain now with 85 locations in Central Florida.
All proceeds from the Mascot Games Presented by Wawa benefit New Hope for Kids, which provides support to children and families grieving the death of a loved one, and grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses in Central Florida.
Mascot Games Event Manager Gloria Capozzi said: “Wawa has demonstrated what a perfect partnership can be. They have been involved with the Mascot Games since they opened their first store in Orlando. We celebrate their growth in our community and commitment to New Hope for Kids.”
Twenty-four of the best and most popular mascots from across North America will join Orlando Magic’s STUFF, the event’s host mascot and recently honored as one of the best mascots in sports, for the annual competition.
Mascots from MLB, NFL, MLS, NBA, NHL, and NCAA will be divided into four teams as they compete against each other in wild and zany games to determine the true champions of the mascot world.
Participating mascots include:
Albert and Alberta - NCAA University of Florida
Baxter the Bobcat - MLB Arizona Diamondbacks
Captain Fear - NFL Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Champ - NBA Dallas Mavericks
Chomps - NFL Cleveland Browns
Franklin the Dog - NBA Philadelphia 76ers
Fin - NHL Vancouver Canucks
Howler Coyote - NHL Arizona Coyotes
Jaxson De Ville - NFL Jacksonville Jaguars
Kingston - MLS Orlando City Soccer Club
Knightro - NCAA University of Central Florida
Lil Red - NCAA University of Nebraska
Louie - NHL St. Louis Blues
NJ Devil - NHL New Jersey Devils
Rowdy - NFL Dallas Cowboys
Rumble the Bison - NBA Oklahoma City Thunder
Sebastian the Ibis - NCAA University of Miami
Shades - ECHL Orlando Solar Bears
Stanley C. Panther - NHL Florida Panthers
Stuff the Magic Dragon - NBA Orlando Magic
Thunderbug - NHL Tampa Bay Lightning
Tommy Hawk - Chicago Blackhawks
Since its inception, the Mascot Games, presented by Wawa, has raised more than $400,000 for New Hope for Kids.
Tickets for the Mascot Games are now on sale. General admission tickets start at $12 and can be purchased through amwaycenter.com, Chase Box Office at Amway Center, Ticketmaster retail locations, charge-by-phone at 800-745-3000 or at Ticketmaster.com.
On Saturday (June 18) only, a limited number of VIP “Mascot Huddle” tickets, which include a Mascot meet and greet and reserved seating, are available for $35. Reserved seating is available for $20. Group seating for Summer Camps is available by downloading a form from the event website at www.mascotgames.org under the “Summer Camps” tab.
Limited sponsorship opportunities are still available. Companies interested in sponsoring the event, highlighting their brand to more than 15,000 Central Florida residents, can contact Ron Kaplan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About New Hope for Kids
Celebrating 20 years of hope and healing, New Hope for Kids has been helping Central Florida children in need. Its purpose is to bring hope, healing and happiness to children and families suffering from grief, loss or life-threatening illnesses.
New Hope for Kids achieves this through two programs: The Center for Grieving Children helps children and families cope with the feelings of grief and loss after the death of a loved one. Wishes for Kids grants wishes to children up to the age 18, diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.
For more information visit www.newhopeforkids.org.