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  • Doily Allergen

A Tale of Two Mascots: Herky Picks New Partner

Burch, Rusty and Herky depicted in an epic love triangle

This Sunday, Caitlin Clark broke the NCAA Division I scoring record in front of thousands of fans at Carver Hawkeye Arena, and as usual the cheering was led on by everyone’s favorite Herky the Hawk (she/he/they). However, the next morning, Herky made the surprising announcement that he was seeking a new partner in mascoting and in life.

“I don’t want to dance alone anymore,” he said on X or Twitter or whatever you want to call it. “I’m looking for my bird of a feather to flock together with.”

Two potential contestants have quickly risen as the most likely winners of Herky’s heart, and both are already familiar to Iowa. Rusty the Sloth and Burch the Bear have both spent the last few days relentlessly pursuing Herky’s love, but both took a short time out of their days to sit down with the Doily Allergen and campaign for why they would be the perfect match for our beloved hawk.

The university’s hottest bachelor on the market, Rusty the Sloth (he/they), is here to convince you that he is the one for Herky. He pulled up to his interview in style, a little alternative for some tastes, in a nirvana t-shirt, flannel, and gelled back hair, but still was as charming as ever. He reached out his huge, muscular, four-foot arm, and shook my hand like a gentleman. Rusty asked me how my day was, and pulled out the chair for me, as I sat down to interview him. 

“Men these days, they don’t think that the extra effort they put in really matters. They think hawkeyes don’t notice the little things, but let me tell you, that is what really sticks with them at the end of the day.”  

When it comes to dating, Rusty’s a little conventional. His ideal date is a nice, candlelit dinner at his place (vegetarian of course because he cares about the planet), followed by a long sunset walk by the Iowa River. When the sun sets, he loves to gaze up at the stars. Rusty likes to move slowly, and really get to know the being that they are taking out on a date. 

“Some people say I move too slow, but really I just think society moves too fast. I want to get to know who I am seeing. I want to know the things that make them tick, you know? What are your hopes and dreams? What is your family like? What are your pet peeves? I may not hold your hand until the third date, but that just means I respect you as a living being, and want to really understand you, before I try to make any moves.” 

But there was still one question that I know that the readers and I were still thinking about, what about the age gap between the two? Rusty, as you may already know, is about 10,000 years old, while Herky is still in the prime of her youth at 76 years old. Wouldn’t it be weird to have that big of an age gap between the two? 

“Age is really just a number. We are both two single beings looking for companionship and love in this crazy age. And besides, 10,000 years of living, just means I have a lot of life and dating experience. I know who I am as a person, and what I want out of a relationship. I know how to treat my date with respect and chivalry that I don’t think anyone younger than me can provide. Besides, isn’t it at least a little hot to date someone with more experience than you. Someone who can show you the ropes? I’m like a silver fox, but without the gray hair.” 

While Rusty’s image and story is popular in the minds and hearts of Iowa City citizens, Burch the Bear is a little more obscure. His name and face are everywhere in the city–St. Burch Tavern, Big Grove Brewing, and there’s even a segment about him on the walls of the IMU–but within the public consciousness, little is discussed about the black bear.

This mysterious stranger arrived at his interview in his old football jersey and some skintight jeans, eager to remind both Herky and the Doily audience of his glory days and his own experience as the mascot of the football team from 1908 to 1910. While not as overtly showy in his politeness as Rusty, Burch listened attentively to all the questions, and responded to why he would make a good partner for Herky with a playful grin.

“I’ve done the mascot thing,” he boasted proudly, “so I know a thing or two that might help him out in that area. Plus, who doesn’t want a bear in their life?” He winked at the double entendre.

Burch told Doily his ideal first date involves adventure of any kind. Whether it’s checking out a local escape room, exploring an abandoned building, or even trying new foods together, he wants to see what the world has to offer with his partner. 

He did admit that his one area of fear is the water. “But what kind of adventures could even be had by that yucky old river anyway?” he joked dismissively.

When asked about his reportedly aggressive tendencies towards the football players and fans alike during his period as a mascot, Burch’s teasing manner grew serious. 

“I’m a changed bear,” he told Doily with a solemn expression. “Those attacks were moments of weakness that I would never leave Herky vulnerable to. I care about him too much to let myself be like that again.”

The final question Doily had for Burch was how he plans on competing with Rusty’s fame and pre-established reputation in the public eye. He laughed, and said, “I’m not asking for the public to love me, I’m asking for Herky to. I know he’ll look past the surface and make the right decision. Besides, isn’t mystery a little sexy? I’ve had my head stuffed too once, just like that old sloth, but it’s missing. Look it up!”

After interviewing both these enchanting and handsome creatures, we here at the Doily Allergen are forced to admit that either man would be the perfect partner for Herky the Hawk. All that is left now is for the bird himself to decide. 

Herky’s decision will be aired live on the news as a Bachelor-style finale, with Herky asking the mascot he loves most to spend the rest of their lives together. We can only hope Herky is able to find the fairytale ending he deserves.


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