Bruiser Bobcat’s twelfth birthday bash in Village Hall was a celebration of cake, games, live music, and pure fun on Feb. 21. In honor of Bruiser’s birthday this month, The Insider dug a little deeper into his history on Pitt-Greensburg’s campus.
Pitt-Greensburg has held the symbol of the bobcat for some time. In 2002, Pitt-Greensburg officially became a member of the NCAA and decided upon a bobcat as the school’s mascot.
Sometime in the early 2000s, the bobcat statue was dedicated outside of Smith Hall. Although there are many rumors floating around campus about the statue’s size, Al Thiel, Director of the Student Center and Student Involvement, reassured The Insider the size was absolutely intentional.
“That’s the actual size of a bobcat,” Thiel said. “It’s life size. Bobcats are not very big animals.”
Besides the statue, the earliest image of Pitt-Greensburg’s bobcat mascot that is still available is from Nov. 2002, located in Pitt’s archives. However, at the time, Bruiser was simply an unnamed bobcat.
The exact date of Bruiser’s birthday is arbitrarily chosen but is based on the year he acquired his name.
“I can’t remember what year it was, but probably in 2003 or 2004, there was a vote done on campus, organized by SGA, to name the bobcat,” Brian Root, Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life, said. “That is when Bruiser became an official name.” Root attended Pitt-Greensburg as a student from 2000 to 2004.
“When I was a student, the Bruiser costume was kind of scary!” Root said.
Thiel agreed with Root about Bruiser’s first costume.
“There have been a multitude of Bruiser iterations over the years. Bruiser’s gone from slightly terrifying to much less terrifying,” Thiel said. “Some folks have called [the first] Bruiser ‘The Predator’ Bruiser, because he looks like The Predator.”
Meghan Tutolo, Adjunct Instructor of Composition and 2003 alumnus from Pitt-Greensburg’s writing program, was the Bobcat mascot from 2001 to 2002.
“I always think [being a mascot] is exciting because it’s almost like there isn’t a person in there. Everyone loves you. You’re in a costume, they love the character,” Tutolo said. “You’re just this thing that people love. How great is that?”
“It sounds corny, but you get to dance around and be goofy, and do things that people would think you’re weird for doing if you were in your own body,” Tutolo said.
The current costume is a middle ground between his first version and a second version of the costume, which was the costume Tutolo wore during her time as a mascot.
“We’re now at a middle version, where it’s intimidating enough but not scary. He has a friendly but ferocious look,” Thiel said. “You want a mascot people want to be near, and ‘The Predator’ Bruiser… I don’t want to be near that.”
If you missed Bruiser’s birthday celebration, you can always follow his adventures on Twitter @BruiserBobcat, and on Facebook @BruisertheBobcat.