Everybody knows and loves UNC's mascot, Rameses. If you've ever wanted to learn more about what it takes to be a UNC mascot, this Q&A is for you.
Above: Rameses interacts with the crowd during the 2017 men’s basketball national championship. Photo from the News & Observer.
From his guitar solo at the beginning of football games to his love for everything Carolina blue, everybody knows and loves our mascot, Rameses. Last week, I sat down with one of the four students who represents UNC as Rameses for an exclusive one-on-one interview detailing the ins and outs of the position.
Q: What are the qualifications to be Rameses?
A: To be Rameses, you have to be super into UNC and pretty energetic and outgoing. You have to be taller than 5 foot 8 inches and shorter than 6 foot 3 inches, and you have to be a freshman or sophomore. I’ve been Rameses since my freshman year.
Q: How did you become Rameses?
A: I went to an interest meeting and they explained what being Rameses would entail, including games and travel. They had us put the suit on and we did some cheers, and we acted out different scenarios, like interactions with angry fans and crying babies. Once we made it past that stage, they put us in a game. My game was men’s lacrosse against Notre Dame in Kenan Stadium, and I just interacted with the crowd and took pictures, and then they told me that I got it.
Q: How does it feel to be representing Carolina at games and other events?
A: It’s definitely an experience that not a lot of people get. I think that’s the coolest part. There’s only four of us, and there’s 20,000 students here, so it’s a very rare experience to go out there and get to rep Carolina blue in the Dean Dome and on the field at Kenan. It’s cool to be the face of university.
Q: What responsibilities come along with being Rameses?
A: You have to remain respectful. We have a little bit of leeway: You can joke around with the fans, but you have to keep it respectful. When it comes to State and Duke fans, you have to stay respectful, no matter how disrespectful they may get towards you. As far as time management, it’s a big time commitment. Some weeks, you’ll have two appearances, and some weeks you’ll have five or six. You know, Rameses is a pretty busy guy.
Q: What appearances have stuck with you the most?
A: As far as sporting events, volleyball is definitely my favorite. Basketball is great and has great energy, but for volleyball, you’re in Carmichael, a smaller arena, and it’s really loud and energetic, so that’s probably my favorite event to do. But football and basketball are great, too, because those are more the staples of Carolina athletics.
But as far as non-athletic events, children’s hospital events are always the best. You’re with the children and you can bring a smile to their face, and I love doing anything that involves Jason Ray [a Rameses mascot who was killed in 2007 when he was hit by a car during UNC’s NCAA tournament run]. I also did a Delta commercial. I was able to hang out with Mr. Wuf [N.C. State’s mascot] and get to know him, so we became pretty close friends. It was just a cool experience to see how a commercial is made.
Q: What is a typical football Saturday like?
A: We arrive three hours before kickoff to our designated changing area, which is the Carolina Club. We have three people that work each game [as Rameses]: a pregame guy, a first-half guy and a second-half guy. We’ll suit the pregame guy up, and we’ll take him to Tar Heel Town. We’re on a pretty strict schedule for pregame.
About an hour before kickoff, we head to the stadium. The first-half guy will suit up and start getting ready about 30 minutes prior to get ready to do the guitar. I’m afraid of heights, so last week when they told me that we were going to the top of the Football Center, I was terrified. I recommended it the first week, but I didn’t know I was going to be the one doing it. We went up there and they told me that there was a barrier, so I thought that there was going to be a gate and I’d be fine. I get there and it’s a two-foot ledge there and a 30-foot drop-off after the ledge. Thankfully, I was in the suit, so all I could see was the top of the Blue Zone and couldn’t see down. But I could see how high I was up, and I was terrified. I just kept telling myself, “Do the guitar, do the guitar.”
Q: Do you think being Rameses is worth it?
A: Oh, heck yeah, it’s a great experience. There’s probably been fewer than 100 mascots ever, and it’s just really cool to think that of all the students that have been here, you’re one of the lucky 100 that get to represent the university in that way.
Q: What would you say to someone who’s interested in getting involved?
A: If you have the time, definitely do it. I truly believe that when I’m out there some days, I can make a difference. If you get the crowd loud enough, you can sway the game just a little bit. So if you think you can make a difference, or if you really love UNC, I’d definitely go out and do it. It’s totally worth it.