he Official Mascot of the Wyoming Cavalry 

Species: Coyote Favorite Song: Who Let the Dogs Out Favorite Colors: Blue & Gold
Debut: 03/25/05 Favorite Movie: Dances With Wolves Favorite Cartoon: Yu-Gi-Oh
Height: 7' 0" Favorite Foods: Cheese Pizza & Blimpie Best Favorite Drink: Pepsi
Weight: 220 lbs. Hobbies: Reading & Exercising Favorite Sport: Football - duh

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Cavalry Mascot Comes Alive in Casper College Art Studio
May 14, 2005 - By BILL LANDEN
Special to the Casper Star-Tribune

Go to a Wyoming Cavalry game and you will see Custer shaking it to the beat or high-fiving an enthusiastic fan.

Custer is as much a part of the professional indoor football game as, well, a Matt Strand touchdown pass. He's just as popular, too. The Cavalry mascot has probably had his picture taken more than any player. Fans, especially the little ones, love him.

Casper's professional football team is in its fifth season at the Casper Events Center. Custer didn't arrive at "Fort Rowdy" until this year.

Argeri and Mike Layton, the team's general managing duo, knew last summer that the team needed a mascot. They approached Nancy Madura's commercial art class at Casper College and pitched the concept. Madura and her students accepted the challenge. It was a class project that took much of the fall semester.

"We probably never would have taken it on had we known," Madura says with a chuckle. "It was horribly difficult." Madura says the first assignment she gave her class was to do some research. That prompted discussions about real cavalries, the Old West, and life at the western forts. Outside Fort Caspar, for example, the students knew there would have been some of our old friends -- coyotes -- howling on the ridge.

"Custer" began on a sketch pad and eventually evolved into a full-fledged coyote mascot.

Tag-teaming the effort was not easy.

Jen Paad, Casper, says the group agreed on one thing from the start -- they wanted a "friendly" mascot. "We tried not to make him too scary; we got a lot of feedback from kids about that."

Luke Bushor, Sundance, came up with the name. "I name everything I do," he says. "Custer just hopped into my head. At first, I kept putting a cavalry hat on him and imagining him leading an army."

The class joked that the real cavalry Custer had a good record, too, up until that last game.

Sketches were the easy part, according to Madura. "We had to come up with a clay model which could be caste." Later, she says, creating the large head was very difficult.

Nayeli Mena, Casper, had worn a mascot uniform in high school. "That was very helpful," Madura says, "because she knew how important it was that Custer could see well and move well."

Once Custer had evolved as far as the art class could take him, the students researched and identified a reputable company to finish the job. "Street Characters," a company in Canada, creates mascots and was "very helpful" in determining things like fur color and other details

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Argeri Layton says the project with Casper College worked extremely well.

"I can't say enough about how thrilled we are," she says. Nancy was nice enough to let us invade her classroom. (The project) was everything I had envisioned it to be."

The rest, as they say, is western history. Custer is now a part of the Cavalry culture.

He'll have his game face on at 7 p.m. tonight when Billings comes to the Casper Events Center.

(Editor's note: Along with Bushor, Mena and Paad, the rest of the Custer creators include Kyle Kuberra, Gillette; Aaron Roberts, Boulder, Colo.; Kristin Praeuner, Casper; Jessica Barnes, Glenrock; and Kyle Parker, Casper.)

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