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Mia Woeber, who handles the mascot duties of “Champion” for the Madison Academy Mustangs, had an incredible experience performing with other selected mascots at the Jan. 1 Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. She also had time for a visit to nearby Disney’s Magic Kingdom as part of a family vacation. Photo Contributed

Madison Academy’s “Champion” Performs At Citrus Bowl; A Mascot Marvel

MADISON- The 2021 college football season bowl games have come to a close, but to be part of one of the most exciting contests of the entire bowl season is an experience even the most dedication football fan can appreciate.

Mia Woeber, who portrays “Champion” the mascot for the Madison Academy Mustangs, was one of 37 mascots from across the country invited to partake in the festivities surrounding the New Year’s Day Vrbo Citrus Bowl held in Orlando, Fla. The game featured No. 22 Kentucky versus No. 15 Iowa with TV coverage provided by ABC, Channel 31 locally.

“I had a lot of fun and it was great meeting most of the mascots who were a part of the game,” said Woeber, a senior at the private school in Madison and who has been the school mascot since seventh grade.

During the recent summer Woeber attended the UCA Mascot Camp and while there she chose to try out for the status as All-American with the most elite of the tryouts would be chosen to participate in the Citrus Bowl. Woeber in her full “Champion” attire performed a 90-second dance routine using five different songs edited together as accompanying music. Judges determined the overall three winners, who were invited to the Citrus Bowl. Woeber was the only mascot from Alabama to be selected and joined one each from Georgia and Tennessee to make the trip to Orlando.

Making the trip to the Sunny State with Woeber were her parents, Mike and Marnie, her two sisters, Alley and Emma, 18,  who are part of being triplets, and her older brother Mark, 20. They decided to make the trip to Orlando via car as a family vacation.

Arriving a few days prior to the game, the Woeber family made their way to Disney’s Magic Kingdom which is traditionally the place of choice for an annual family outing. Meanwhile, Woeber was soon instructed to be in full mascot gear for three hours of intense practice sessions in preparation for their game performance.

On game day, a warm temperature of 86 degrees greeted the 50,769 in official attendance, both teams and performers surrounding the annual contest. Include the large TV audience and the experience of a lifetime was had by all.

Woeber and the remaining mascots accompanied a large marching band onto the manicured field surface of Camping World Stadium for what would be a five-minute dance performance as part of the pre-game festivities surrounding the longtime bowl game dating back to 1947. With her entire family watching within the in-person audience and millions more on national television, Woeber supplied an energetic performance that received a huge applause as an approval.

The Woeber family were reunited with their star mascot in the audience where they watched the game until halftime. Woeber was exhausted from her already long day of activity so the family chose to exit the stadium and visited a restaurant for a meal and the chance to watch the remainder of the game on a large TV screen. The contest was one of the most exciting of all the post-season bowl matchups as Kentucky scored the winning touchdown with 1:48 remaining in the game and sealed the victory with the Wildcats great defense in the waning moments to secure a 20-17 win over the Hawkeyes.

For the 18-year old Woeber, the experience of being a part of a large college football extravaganza will only lead her in her next quest of trying out for the University of Alabama’s mascot “Big Al” in April. Woeber will attend the school this fall as she looks to earn a degree in mechanical engineering.

“I would do this again if asked and I certainly recommend others to live the experience like the one I just had should they get the opportunity,” said Woeber.

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