The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Peruna shows spirit while keeping his identity secret

Most students get dressed up on game day and go the Boulevard. However, there is one student who attends the Boulevard as someone, or rather, something different: Peruna.

The 22-year-old economics major who wears the Peruna costume begins his day by walking down the Boulevard without his costume. He continues to the gym where he suits up.

In his costume, he is able to see only through the hole in Peruna’s mouth which limits his sight. He can see only directly in front of him. To prevent trampling small children or band members, Peruna demands an escort when he walks back to the Boulevard.

While out in public, Peruna is prohibited from speaking to anyone. On the Boulevard, Peruna is a celebrity. He poses for pictures with students, teachers and children. Peruna then leads the cheerleaders and band members in the parade down the Boulevard and back to the stadium where he takes his first break.

Peruna sits behind a corner in the stadium, hiding from the football players, staff, coaches and other people walking by. He is hiding because no one is supposed to know Peruna’s real identity.

Taking a seat on the floor, he takes off his horse’s head and places it on the floor next to him. The face underneath is pouring sweat, but you won’t hear any complaints.

“I love it. You can’t beat being a mascot,” he said.

SMU alumnus Anthony Beverly brought his children, Justice, 8, and Anthony Jr., 11, to see Peruna at a home game in September. Beverly, who comes up from San Antonio every five years to see a game, agrees that the identity of Peruna should be kept secret.

“Never in the history of mascots are you allowed to say their name,” he said.

The tradition of keeping Peruna’s identity a secret started with the first mascot, Marcus Duron. Duron says Peruna, the mascot, was created by the assistant athletic director around 1983. He wanted to boost SMU spirit for the athletic program.

Duron didn’t tell anyone that he was Peruna. The Daily Campus reported on him as the ‘Mystery Mascot,” a name Duron loved. He went so far to keep his identity a secret that he didn’t even tell his closest friends. When they would ask why he didn’t go to the football games, he would tell them he wasn’t interested in the sport.

During auditions, Duron was told to do something special. He sang “Splish Splash I was Taking a Bath,” which won him the role. Even though he loved being the mascot, Duron played Peruna for only one year.

The life of each Peruna depends on the person. The last Peruna was the mascot for four years, and it is the last year for the current Peruna. If you are interested in auditioning for Peruna, please contact Zac Brannon ([email protected]).

Despite going to great lengths to keep his identity a secret, there are some students on campus who have figured out Peruna’s identity. This doesn’t bother Peruna as long as those who know him do not spoil the secret.

“They’re not supposed to see me as their friend,” he said. “They’re supposed to see me as Peruna.”

Peruna added that it bothers him when people shout his real name across the Boulevard because it ruins the fun for the people who might not know him.

After walking in the parade down the Boulevard and onto the field, Peruna stands on the sidelines with the Spirit Squad. Freshman Blair Biglow thinks Peruna’s presence at the game is important.

“Peruna brings the spirit to the game,” she said.

Others at the game, however, see Peruna and can’t help but wonder who it could be. Senior Kyle Woodham says that at some games he tries to figure out Peruna’s real identity.

But for those who don’t know, if you wanted to figure out who Peruna is it shouldn’t be very hard. Peruna says he doesn’t act any different underneath the costume.

“I’m not going to change who I am when I’m in character,” he said, “everything I do is just exaggerated.”

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