On November 29, 2018, a local legend was born.
As Big Thunder descended the steps of the student section during halftime of the men’s basketball game, a buzz filled the stadium. With red paint covering his face and chest, Big Thunder followed the footsteps of cult heroes Wild Bill, Duke Speedo Guy and the Vancouver Canucks Green Men as he took his first steps onto the path of sports fandom history.
Big Thunder is Southern Utah Basketball’s biggest fan. He is the harbinger of energy and passion. There’s not an ounce of fear in his body.
The entire stadium began to collectively turn and watch as Big Thunder truffle-shuffled his way down the steps. A storm was brewing in America First Events Center. It struck seemingly out of nowhere.
“I was inspired by Chris Farley, Jack Black and Chunk from ‘The Goonies’, but I was mostly inspired by Wild Bill from Utah State,” Big Thunder said.
In his first appearance, Big Thunder chose a devil-themed outfit to throw off the mojo of San Diego Christian College. He has many more outfits in his arsenal planned for the rest of the season, which are also themed according to the opponent or holiday season.
“We need to get to get more students there,” Big Thunder said. “Basketball is something that unites the community and I want to be a part of that.”
He sported a gigantic red lightning bolt on his chest, horns on his head and seductive fishnet stockings. He stood right behind the basket to heckle Thunderbird opponents.
As San Diego Christian took their free throws, they were intimidated by his sheer presence and ferocity in distraction.
SDCC shot just 57 percent from the line because of his devilish tactics.
After SUU finished their resounding 111-64 victory, Head Coach Todd Simon approached Big Thunder and gave him a knuckle bump. He was followed by the rest of the squad who laughed and danced with the legend himself.
“Big Thunder changes the game for us,” Simon said in the post-game press conference. “If I had a game ball I’d go give it to him. He impacts the arena and it gets people going.”
Overnight Big Thunder became a Cedar City legend. His presence makes SUU Basketball games must-see entertainment and will contribute greatly to brand exposure for the rest of the school.
The team is off to their first 4-1 start since the team won 25 games in the 2000-2001 season, the first and last time SUU played in the national tournament. Their success on the court paired with Big Thunder’s energy in the crowd makes for an electric combination.
Follow Big Thunder on Twitter and Instagram @RealBigThunder to keep up with SUU’s most important sports fan.
— SUU Men’s Basketball (@SUUBasketball) November 30, 2018
Story by: Connor Sanders
Photos by: SUU Athletics Strategic Communication