Loren Lamson returns to show off ‘Big Red’ on Saturday night

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Of all of the people who have worn the Switzerland County Road Runner mascot suit, Loren Lamson, who graduated in 2005, is without a doubt the most famous.

Now a sophomore at Western Kentucky University, Loren Lamson has continued his work as a mascot – and is now donning one of the most famous college mascot suits in the nation – “Big Red”, the Western Kentucky mascot.

He is one of only six students on the Western Kentucky campus who earned the right to be “Big Red”, and this Saturday night he will be returning to Switzerland County High School to bring his new alter ego back to his hometown.

“I’m just coming back to show people who don’t know ‘Big Red’ or what he does just who he is,” Loren Lamson said from his dorm room this week. “I just want people to see what I get to do now. It’s great.”

In his capacity as “Big Red”. Loren Lamson shows up at WKU sporting events, as well as public appearances at everything from parties to grade schools.

“‘Big Red’ is a phenomenon around this area,” Loren Lamson said. “Everybody wants to see him.”

Because this is his first year as the mascot, Loren Lamson said that he has appeared at volleyball and soccer games; and will be at softball and baseball games in the spring. The premier events, men’s and women’s basketball games, are reserved for the upper classmen who are veterans in the program.

And it’s not all fun and games.

Loren Lamson said that he is one of only two sophomores who made the cut; and that they were sent to a special mascot camp at the University of Tennessee this past summer to learn more about the craft.

But make no mistake, being the Switzerland County Road Runner gave Loren Lamson a wealth of experience when he decided to try out to be “Big Red”.

“The tryouts were pretty wild,” he said. “Basically, I just did what they asked for. After being the Road Runner, I had a pretty good idea about what I was going to do. I guess they like it.”

Although the tryouts are every year and there are no guarantees, Loren Lamson says that he feels good about his future in the big red suit – and that’s the fun and excitement that he hopes to share with everyone this Saturday night.

“It’s going to be neat to come back to the high school and let people see who he is,” Loren Lamson said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

It’s also a treat for visitors here, because the identity of who’s actually in the “Big Red” suit during appearances is a closely guarded secret. Loren Lamson had to receive special permission to bring “Big Red” to Switzerland County.

The ultimate fan and supporter of all WKU’s intercollegiate sports, “Big Red” won the “Key to the Spirit” award – the highest honor presented to team mascots at the time – at the Universal Cheerleading Association competition in 1980, 1981 and again in 1983.

“Big Red” was the centerpiece of ESPN’s promotion of the 25,000th SportsCenter airing in August, 2002, and was selected to the first-ever Capital One All-America Mascot Team, was featured in a television advertising campaign.

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Loren Lamson is a sophomore at Western Kentucky University majoring in physical education and coaching. He is the son of Loren and Marla Lamson of Vevay.