The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 11, 2013

Knoebels designer can make Ironman school mascot

By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News

Editor's note: This story was changed after publication to correct inaccuracies about BAM Mascots Inc.

DANVILLE — School board members received an update on plans to raise funds for a new Ironman mascot for the district.

Community member Jen Enterline told the board Tuesday that she had been in discussion with a Brownsville woman named Erin Blank, who creates all of the mascot costumes for Knoebels. Blank said she could make the new Ironman costume for about $3,600. A previous estimate from Canadian company BAM Mascots Inc. put the cost at $5,200.

Blank, who is also in charge of training the Knoebels mascots, sketched a design and gave it to Enterline.

“She can have him done in four weeks” once funds are raised, Enterline said. BAM Mascots Inc. estimated it would take about nine weeks, but their lead time fluctuates throughout the year, company officials said.

Blank told Enterline she could clean and repair the mascot suit free of charge on a regular basis. Local seamstresses could also assist in minor repairs, according to Blank, and she would be willing to guide them. Blank said no costume repair has cost more than $200.

The Ironman costume proposed by Blank could also be used by anyone between five feet and six feet tall. BAM’s initial design was for someone five feet, eight inches tall, which concerned the school board. But BAM can make mascots to any size preferred by the client. Blank’s costume would be made of soft foam materials. BAM uses a foam that fits in a different density category. They use proprietary techniques and new materials that are a departure from materials used for decades by other companies in the field, officials said. The material allows the company to make mascots that "are lighter, more comfortable or to achieve particular finishes or shapes," BAM officials said. The details of the material are not available to the public.

Additionally, Enterline learned from talking with other districts that cheerleading groups are usually responsible for storing a costume, transporting it and holding tryouts for performers. She also learned that schools traditionally have more than one performer at a time to rotate responsibilities, especially during warm weather.

School board member Joe Stemm was concerned fundraising for the mascot would eat into fundraisers for the middle school scoreboard and trophy case. Superintendent Cheryl Latorre said the district was close to obtaining the $6,000 needed for the scoreboard. While this project would be competing, “we’re close to our goal,” she said.

Board member Stephen Schooley suggested holding a contest among the students to choose a name for the Ironman, whom Enterline and Blank were temporarily calling “Dan.”

School board president Allan Schappert said Enterline could press on with design negotiations and fundraising with the board’s thanks.