The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 31, 2012

Carl Junction mascot to participate in Capital One Bowl pregame show

By Ryan Richardson

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — Carl Junction High School sophomore Michael Karraker will join 50 other high school mascots from across the country as part of the Capital One Bowl pregame show Tuesday in Orlando, Fla.

Karraker was selected at the Universal Cheerleaders Association camp he attended last summer in Tulsa, Okla. In a phone interview Monday, he expressed his excitement over his selection.

“It’s just a great honor to have been chosen and to be able to perform,” Karraker said. “There were only 12 percent of the people that were trying to make it to Orlando that were selected.”

Karraker left Carl Junction earlier this week for Orlando to practice with the other mascots for the pregame show.

“We’ve been going hard at 7 a.m. every morning until about noon with a full practice,” he said. “It’s been a long week already, full of fun, but it definitely will be worth it after this is all over.”

While Karraker’s role as Spike the Bulldog potentially will be seen by tens of thousands across the country, he said the pressure had not gotten to him.

“It is easy to be nervous with this many people watching, but you really can’t be,” he said. “I’m representing Carl Junction and everyone else in Southwest Missouri. I’m playing a role, and that role is to get people excited to be at the game. I just want it to be a lot of fun.”

Karraker is the son on Sara and Steve Fite. He took over the mascot duties of Spike the Bulldog in the middle of his freshman year.

“I want to do this for the rest of my high school career and hopefully in college,” he said. “It’s been a fun ride already, and I still have two more years to do this.”


THE CAPITAL ONE BOWL between Georgia and Nebraska will kick off at noon Tuesday on ABC, with the pregame show starting at 11 a.m.