In seventh heaven
Once again, Aubie's come out head and tail above the competition.
Aubie competed in the 2012 Universal Cheerleaders Association National Mascot Competition Jan. 13 in Orlando.
"Aubie has won UCA nationals six times before, which is more than any other mascot, but it's been six years since he won so we wanted to win more than anything," said Caroline McGill, assistant director of Aubie. "The last four years he's gotten second place. This year we were ready to get it."
Aubie and his friends spent an entire month building, painting and practicing in hopes of bringing home a seventh national championship.
"Right after finals Aubie cracked down and started working on it," said Anna Grayce West, director of Aubie. "He worked on it a couple weeks before Christmas, and then Aubie had a three-day Christmas before we came back and went to the bowl game. After that we did a couple more weeks. It was probably about four or five weeks of very consistent 12-hour days of working on the skit."
Aubie adviser Mike Reynolds has been with Aubie the past eight competitions. He said most people don't understand the amount of work that goes into preparing for these events.
"It's such a serious, important aspect because this is a national championship to Aubie," Reynolds said. "It's no different than the football or the equestrian or the basketball (championships)."
Scores were based on a two-minute compilation video of Aubie's highlights throughout the year and a one-and-a-half-minute skit performed live at the competition.
"This year he decided to go with a theme of Aubie's Saturday," West said. "He went through a bunch of different iconic things that are known to be happening on Saturdays. For instance, it started with Saturday morning cartoons that had a couple good jokes like Bert and Ernie turning into Bernie, and he did the dance to the Bernie song."
McGill said the entire Aubie team was in the front row when the first-place win was announced.
"It was the same feeling for me as down in Arizona last year when our football team won the national championship," Reynolds said.
With the most UCA national championship titles at seven, Reynolds said Aubie's success attracts imitators.
"It's a lot harder for Aubie to win the national championship because he sort of sets the bar," Reynolds said. "I've been around it enough to know he's a premiere mascot that other programs try to duplicate."
The UCA win comes after a loss in the Capital One Mascot Challenge to Wolfie Jr. of the University of Nevada, Reno. Reynolds said Aubie's Capital One loss doesn't accurately represent his ability as a mascot or the intense love Auburn fans have for him.
"Aubie is a competitive mascot," Reynolds said. "He wants to win everything, so anytime there's a competition for a mascot we'll be in there. With the support we get from our students and our administration, Aubie should win everything."
McGill said Aubie stands out because he doesn't just love Auburn athletics, he loves the Auburn students and community.
"Aubie is run through the Student Government Association, unlike so many other schools where their mascot programs are run through athletics," McGill said. "Although Aubie works very closely with athletics, he's for the students and the Auburn family."
Reynolds said Aubie is more an ambassador of the Auburn spirit than a mascot.
"It wasn't just that someone picked up the phone and said, 'I want a tiger mascot. Shoot us a costume,'" Reynolds said. "He came from the pages of Phil Neel's drawing for the basketball game program. That's one thing that makes it so different. So much effort goes into everything Aubie does."
West said she hopes students will celebrate Aubie's victory and take the time to watch him perform his skit at upcoming events.
"We just want a lot of people to enjoy and relish this experience with us," West said. "It's not just for Aubie, it's for all of Auburn."