Stevie Pointer, Still As Popular As Ever

Kyle Florence

Since the founding of our university, Stevie Pointer has always stood as an unyielding representation of our student body and the surrounding community and today continues to delight the citizens of Stevens Point.

According to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Archives, Point has had multiple mascots since its inception, though the order in which they appeared is still up for debate.

At one point in time, the mischievous Mad Dog stalked the stands of Pointer home games, but as the story goes, he eventually fell out of favor due to his rowdy behavior.

Stevie and Stephanie Pointer acted as prominent local figures to several generations of students. However, after several decades, Stevie ended up flying solo due to budgetary restrictions.

Having worked at the university for nearly two decades, Mike Okray, the current equipment room director and strength center manager, has held many positions on campus including the role of mascot director.

Okray occupied the post for over thirteen years and, during that time, scheduled Stevie Pointer appearances, trained new Stevie’s, and even adorned the fabled costume himself on a number of occasions.

Looking back, Okray describes his appointment to mascot director as “a fluke.”

“The athletic director said ‘Mike, we need somebody to be in the mascot suit for graduation. We had someone to do it, but they’re not here, and we really need someone to do it for photos and stuff. Would you do it?’ I said yeah, thinking ‘It isn’t hard, you dance around and act stupid, what more is there to it?’ Well, I found out there’s a lot more to it than that,” Okray said.

As Okray discovered, your typical Stevie Pointer must regularly overcome pitfalls that are usually overlooked by event attendees.

“There’s hundreds and hundreds of little kids that go to graduation to see their brother and sister and they all want their pictures with Stevie Pointer,” Okray said. “That’s great, but when you’re in the suit and you’re kneeling down, you’ve got kids pulling on your tail, you’ve got kids grabbing you on your head, you’ve got kids punching you in the face.”

An upper level UWSP student who currently acts as Stevie Pointer at a number of athletic events, agreed with Okray, saying that unpredictable and sometimes unruly fans are always a potential job hazard.

To protect the mystique of our university’s mascot, the student in question has requested to remain anonymous, and from here on will be referred to as “Dawg.”

“The most difficult part about being Stevie is dealing with disrespectful fans,” Dawg said. “There are some fans who find it funny to hit Stevie or tackle us and it makes the job difficult. We are people on the inside.”

Okray also explained that as the Stevie Pointer suit is thick and heavy, the risk of heat exhaustion is always present, and as such, individuals only remain in the suit for 45-60 minute intervals before switching out with someone else.

“It’s not as easy as it looks; it get’s extremely warm inside,” Okray said. “You have to wear shorts, a T-shirt, and a bandanna to keep the sweat out of your eyes. Physically, people don’t realize how demanding it is.”

According to Dawg however, all the pain pays off on game day.

“For me, the best part of being Stevie is seeing the smile on people’s faces. I am able to make people happy and laugh, and no one even knows that it is me,” Dawg said.

Again, Okray shared a similar outlook.

“The good part about it is the kids, and to see how excited people get when they see the mascot, especially the alumni; it puts a smile on a lot of people’s faces,” Okray said.? 

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