The Lion Sleeps Tonight
No Colorado mascot has generated more crazy headlines than Rocky of the Denver Nuggets. (He once showed up at a GOP political fundraiser without team permission.) But arguably his strangest moment occurred during the 2013 home opener when his limp body was lowered from the rafters during pregame introductions. Many fans in attendance feared the worst as the mountain lion dangled motionless. Fortunately, he had just passed out while getting into the harness, and after regaining consciousness, he walked off the floor under his own power.

Rocky of the Denver Nuggets
Denver Nuggets mascot, Rocky the Lion. Photo courtesy of Doug Pensinger/ Getty Images.

Dinosaur Rumble
During the eighth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994, Colorado Rockies mascot Dinger made an unannounced visit to the AM-850 KOA broadcast booth—during which he tripped and fell into announcer Jeff Kingery. Kingery responded by ripping off his headphones and pummeling the purple dinosaur. Even though Kingery was the aggressor, Dinger showed contrition first: The Barney lookalike delivered flowers to the broadcaster a few days later with a note that read, “Dear Jeff–Thanks for breaking my fall.”

Rockies Mascot Dinger
Colorado Rockies mascot, Dinger the Dinosaur. Photo courtesy of Doug Pensinger/ Getty Images

Missing The Mark
Over the years, mascots have found all sorts of creative ways to injure themselves. Few mishaps, however, have garnered more attention than the University of Colorado Boulder’s Chip the Buffalo accidentally shooting himself with a T-shirt gun in the Rocky Mountain oysters in 2018. Video of the incident, which also showed Chip giving a thumbs-up to a cheering crowd as he was carted off the field, logged millions of views on social media and garnered clicks for nearly every possible news outlet, from Sports Illustrated to Fox News.

Colorado Boulder's Chip the Buffalo
Colorado Boulder’s mascot, Chip the Buffalo. Photo courtesy of Doug Pensinger/ Getty Images

A Hairy Situation
When the Colorado Avalanche first moved to Denver in 1995, a giant yeti named Howler served as the team’s mascot. The gray-haired monster was retired, though, after a Chicago Blackhawks fan claimed he injured her during a scuffle at a March 1999 game. The person wearing the suit was cited with disturbing the peace, and the Avs were so traumatized by the experience the franchise waited a decade before introducing a new mascot: the much more docile Bernie the St. Bernard.

Photo courtesy of David Zalubowski/ AP Photo

This article was originally published in 5280 November 2020.
Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan
Shane Monaghan is the former digital editor of and teaches journalism at Regis Jesuit High School.