Person 2 Person | Stories - Person 2 Person: Jazz Bear
Monday, November 4 2013, 10:13 AM MST
Person 2 Person: Jazz Bear

The Jazz Bear is well known for his crazy antics and charitable acts but few people really know the man behind the mask.
For 20 years he's maintained a vow of silence, until now. The Jazz Bear is this week's "Person 2 Person."

Below is a transcript of Shauna Lake's interview with the Jazz Bear.

SHAUNA LAKE: Thank you so much for doing this with me. This is really a one of a kind interview for us and I guess for you as well?


SHAUNA LAKE: You get to talk. Is it kind of abnormal for you to be talking while you are in costume?

BEAR: Very, very. I don't know if it's an unwritten rule but we just don't, normally a mascot won't speak much. It's hard to sit here.

: I mean because youre Bear and we're talking to you as the person you are inside.

BEAR: And Ive always tried to separate them. So now Im talking to you in both of them so it's kind of weird.

SHAUNA LAKE: Do you feel like 2 different people?

BEAR: Yes, totally. I mean I have really good friends that don't know what I do; there are people in the office who don't know who I am.  I like it to be quiet. I like people to know me for me and not this.

Do you ever have the appearance of going to the store and being you and then having somebody say something about bear?

Yeah it's happened quite a bit. I think the hard part when Im out is I get to see so many fans, season ticket holders, and I forget when Im out in public if I really know them. Does that make sense? Cuz there has been a number of times when I walk over and Im like Hey, how you doing?

You are one of a kind. I mean 20 years you've been doing this. There is no other mascot that has been as long term. Is that right?

I mean the Gorilla but he's not doing it anymore. The original Gorilla did it for 23 years.

SHAUNA LAKE: A lot people asked me when they heard I was doing this interview, is it the same guy who's done it this whole time and it is, isn't it?

Yes it is.

SHAUNA LAKE: Did you think you'd be doing it this long?

BEAR: No I just remember when I moved out here I really thought it would just be a part time thing. Because originally I moved out here I was going to school to be an attorney. When I got this job I thought Id do it for a couple of years and see how it is and then Ill go back to law school. And here I be. My dad, when I got this job, kept telling me to come home and get a good construction job. Come home...he couldn't wrap his head around this thing.

SHAUNA LAKE: What was it about it that appealed to you so much?

I think the appeal of this job is being able to give back; if that makes any sense. I mean I really look at this as a gift. I look at it as Ive been given a costume and a job that I love getting up for and I love being creative with it, and to me I just feel so lucky. I just want to be able to give back and say thank you.

SHAUNA LAKE: What about the physicality of your job? How do you work out or train for that kind of event every single day?

BEAR: You know, working out it's, Ive been really lucky. I've had some really good work out partners as a matter of fact after I have my surgeries Im always afraid Im not going to come back to how I was and people always say oh you'll never be 100% again.

SHAUNA LAKE: Do you work through pain a lot?

BEAR:  I try to; I mean its kind of weird that things will happen to me like Ill tear a tendon. My bicep tore in half, my calf muscle tore in half or just any of the tweaks like my pinky completely bent back and was dislocated on both of them. I tore a tendon out of my thumb and I don't realize it until after the game. There has been a ton of times when I hurt myself and you just go on. I knock myself out on the floor and I get up and keep going. There is no time to just lay there and play dead.

SHAUNA LAKE: Youre an athlete, I mean youre a mascot, but inside that you are an athlete.

BEAR: I'm more of a farm boy thrown into athletic job.

SHAUNA LAKE: You say youre a farm boy. Where are you from?

Im from the mid-west, a little farm I was raised up north by Canada. Thats kind of where it all started because there were so many trees to climb and so many things to do that I was able to say hey I want to do that.

Is it a lucrative job?

BEAR: Its a good job. I mean Im able to have a family and live here so that's good.

SHAUNA LAKE Best part about it?

BEAR: They're all really good parts. My favorite thing is to work a game and go out and do a skit that really pops. That's just a great night when you walk in and you know that you entertain 20,000 people and they cheered for it. That's a great night.

The most challenging part of your job?

BEAR: I think the most challenging part is my work hours and the family. I don't have regular hours I don't work 9 to 5. I'm 6 in the morning until 9 at night. My wife called me and was just like your middle child just asked if you still live here. And that's kind of that switch where I was like I need to slow down a little bit.

Scariest stunt? Tell me about your scariest stunt and your favorite. What's the one you look forward to doing?

BEAR: I think my favorite is just the sled down the stairs. It's pretty easy and everybody likes it. The most scary stunt is probably the bike down the stairs because when Im taking the bike down the stairs I really don't have that much room and Im really kind of shocked that I haven't clipped a chair or a railing and catapulted me over. I don't really practice people are like oh you must practice all the time but I have a saying that there is always a 1 in a million chance and if I practice then I just get that much closer to a million. I really believe by just staying in shape eating right I can do this for a long time I feel great right now.

SHAUNA LAKE: Bear its been a pleasure getting to know you a little bit better person to person. This is a one of a kind interview in so many ways.

-Produced by Angie Dennison

(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)

Person 2 Person: Jazz Bear

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