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Two students to fill role of Marco at Marshall University
"We talked after the auditions and unanimously agreed to offer the position to two students," said Matt Turner, chief of staff at Marshall and one of the judges.
The position of head bison is an important one and Marco has a busy schedule, Turner said. He roams the sidelines during both football and basketball season, appears at groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings, and participates in homecoming festivities, student events and private functions, as well.
The candidates for the position were questioned by a panel of five judges including Dr. Allen Young, who appeared as Marco from 1986 to 1991 and won a national mascot championship in 1990, as well as representatives from the Marshall University Alumni Association. Candidates for the head bison were asked how to react in various scenarios including frightened children and antagonistic fans.
Ruley said she looks forward to being a role model to the little ones.
"To be the fun face of the university that represents the students, the history, the stories and the memories of Marshall University will be a blast," Ruley said.
Bowen was encouraged by friends to audition for the coveted role.
"I have wanted to go to school at Marshall since I was a child. To be Marco will truly show my love for this school." Bowen said. "Marco is the face of the school. He makes every event fun and who doesn't love a big, lovable bison that dances and cheers?"
For their roles as Marco, Ruley and Bowen each will receive a $2,000 scholarship, $1,000 for textbooks, an exclusive parking space, and a personal trainer at the Marshall Recreation Center.Marco (so named for MARshall COllege) first appeared as a sketch in the 1954 Chief Justice yearbook and became a costumed character for the university in 1965.