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MINSTER — Faster than a speeding football, peppier than the most powerful opponent, inside the Wildcat suit is Nick Kemper, Super Fan, someone who could easily be called the most-spirited Wildcat represented at sports games.
In his day-to-day life, the mascot of Minster High School is an unassuming, bubbly band member who could easily be called the Clark Kent of the high school world.
At games, however, he says it’s his job to “dance around and be goofy,” which is something that suits his personality but isn’t normally acceptable in public.
“If I did it in public, people would be like ‘who’s the weirdo,’ but with the mask on its like, ‘he’s good at that,’” Kemper said.
There are some drawbacks to the Wildcat costume — one is how hot it is inside. By half time, Kemper said the ice packs he puts inside have melted, and he has to go somewhere to take off the large furry head and get some air.
He doesn’t, however, take it off in front of people when possible, and he doesn’t talk.
When the suit is on, he leads fans in spontaneous shows of spirit, including some of his signature moves; pretending his tail is a guitar, doing a fist pump, leading the roller coaster, mimicking the cheerleaders, and doing the car wash.
“Wax on, wax off,” he demonstrates, bringing his paws around in circles.
The best moment of the game, he said, is the jump ball, when the pep band plays “Seven Nation Army” with a thumping beat by The White Stripes, usually good for dancing in circles and fist-pumping. Other good songs to lead the crowd are “Barbara Ann,” “Crazy Train” and “Car Wash.”
As a senior this is Kemper’s third and final year performing as Wiley the Wildcat. Kemper said he hopes the next Wildcat will bring to it something unique. He also thinks having two wildcats would ensure the mascot could appear more often at games.
“We’re a small school, but we have a huge band, a big crowd,” Kemper said. “That surprises people. Game night people are different. The only thing is cheering and winning.”