ORLANDO - Smokey returned to the top of the mascot mountain Friday night in the land of magical dreams as Smokey claimed his third national championship at the Universal Cheerleading Association National Championships at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports Complex.
A proud program, which now has its third national championship in the last nine years and first since 2001, has come so close to reclaiming the top spot among the nation’s elite mascots, only to fall short. Since winning back-to-back national championship in 2000-01, Smokey has finished no lower than fifth and claiming runner up once.
This year’s class saw some long standing mascots not able to make the cut, and judging by the stiff competition which Smokey faced, one could see why this year may have been the best overall competition anyone has ever seen.
Smokey had to fend off very good performances from “Bucky the Badger” from Wisconsin and Auburn’s “Aubie.” But in the end Smokey’s flawless performance and choreography of the routine was enough to win the school’s third national title.
This year’s Smokey’s team is led by head Smokey Logan Durham, who is in his second year as a Smokey mascot. Other members of the mascot squad include Joel Cummings, Taylor Reynolds and Andrew Horwat.
“I can’t believe it really happened,” said Durham. “It just has not hit me yet. What a great job our entire squad did in getting all of this ready for the competition.”
University of Tennessee Spirit Coordinator, Joy Postell, said “I believed going in that he had a good chance of winning based on his crowd tape we submitted and his number one ranking going into the competition.
“His routine was indicative of the class and character we strive for as representatives of the University of Tennessee. He ran a clean and flawless routine and was able to use the props to get the crowd involved. It was an awesome team effort in achieving this honor.”
Past champions include Adam DeVault (2000) and Jason Vicars (2001).