Dartmouth students have never been particularly well known for playing by the rules, so when Keggy debuted last fall as the Big Green’s unofficial mascot, he fit in perfectly.
In almost no time, the walking keg gained campus-wide notoriety and became a mainstay at home sporting events. His undeniable presence could be felt in the form of ubiquitous “Get Pumped!” T-shirts and national media attention.
The Keggy fervor grew to such a level that his kidnapping at the end of Fall term threw the entire campus into a Norse berserker-esque rage that was not fully relieved until his resurrection this past weekend.
A collective sigh could be heard on campus on Thursday when the beloved mascot triumphantly stormed the green at the Opening Ceremony for Winter Carnival. Keggy co-creator Chris Plehal ’04 said that he “initially felt bad about breaking into Dr. Suess’ centennial celebration but then I thought this is something [Dr. Suess] would have really liked himself.” The ever-cheerful keg carried a blazing torch as he was welcomed back with cheers from the delighted spectators.
Keggy continued to show a strong presence all weekend. Kappa Kappa Kappa fraternity paid him a tribute in the form of a snow sculpture on their front lawn. Keggy rallied the fans at the men’s basketball and women’s hockey games and even made an appearance at the Dartmouth Skiway. However, he was unable to attend the races due to technical difficulties.
“We couldn’t get him on the chair lift,” said Plehal.
Keggy’s growing popularity has been both a boon and a burden to those in charge of him. The small team includes Plehal and Nicolas Duquette ’04, along with Andrew Argeski ’06 — the man inside the Keggy suit — and two or three others from the Jack-O-Lantern. They have been flooded with requests for Keggy appearances, far more than the keg can actually make. When the high maintenance demands of the suit are also taken into account, keeping Keggy up and running is truly a labor of love.
The mascot’s revival this winter is also marked by a feature in the March issue of Playboy magazine. Since his inauguration, Keggy has received intensive media coverage, and has appeared in than Sports Illustrated, ESPN and The Washington Times.
The Playboy feature, titled “The Sporting Brews: Dartmouth Has A New Mascot On Tap”, quotes Plehal as saying, ” He does what a mascot is supposed to do — stirs spirit, mocks opposing teams — even though he’s a giant anthropomorphic beer keg”. In a few weeks Keggy will also grace the Playboy official website in “Mascots Speak Out” of the site’s “College On-Campus” section.
Keggy’s re-appearance has sparked another round of controversy over his position as Dartmouth’s unofficial mascot. “It’s a grassroots movement to show school spirit and should be supported by the school” said Bibhu Mainali ’07, while another student described Keggy as “an embarrassment to the school.”
Despite such mixed reviews, the majority opinion that seems to be prevalent on campus can be summed up in the emphatic words of Allan Reynolds ’07.
“I like Keggy, he gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside,” Reynolds said.