Note: Since the Corkys are anonymous, they shall be referred to in this article as Corky 1 and Corky 2 for convenience.
For over 80 years, Corky the Hornet has served as the mascot for Emporia State. He originated in the 1930s and has been immortalized in statues placed all around campus.
But this semester, not one but two students have been hired to play Corky’s role.
“In order to have Corky at as many events as possible, we need two people giving us scheduling flexibility,” said Jodi Brinkman, executive assistant for Enrollment Management and coordinator for Corky’s appearances. “If one Corky is in class, the other Corky might be able to be there…we would never ask Corky to miss class.”
One of Corky’s duties includes making regular appearances at sporting events, and the Hornet may also be seen leading a parade, handing out prizes, posing for pictures or dancing, Brinkman said. Corky “does it all,” she said.
“I thought that being Corky would be a great opportunity to show off my school spirit, and plus, who wouldn’t want to wear the head?” Corky 1 said.
Corky 2 said they wanted to be the mascot because it was something that not every student has the opportunity to do.
“Throughout my college career, I want to be able to say that I made the most of every opportunity,” Corky 2 said.
The mascot may also be spotted at the Watering Hole or the Black Hole before a sports game. He also roams campus, meeting students and faculty, and often posing for pictures.
“Who doesn’t want a picture with the coolest mascot in Kansas?” Corky 1 said.
Both Corkys said they enjoy playing the part. Among the benefits, Corky 2 listed a scholarship and interacting with new people, “even though I can’t talk.” Corky 1 added that some of the perks also include, “close relations with the president, which is always good.”
Brinkman said that when applicants were interviewed, they were asked about their school spirit, how they felt about Corky and interacting with different age groups. Outgoing personalities were among the qualities that were looked for.
Corky’s responsibilities include getting crowds involved at sporting events, attending new student orientations and making children happy.
But being the mascot isn’t always as “easy” as it may seem. Both Corkys agreed that being in the suit is hot.
“Let me put it this way, those football players have it easy when it comes to dealing with the heat,” Corky 2 said.