The men beneath the horse costumes

The Branding Iron: 40 minutes of sweaty tackles, pre-game motorcycle performances and back flip touchdowns that went down in the books as one of the most atypical and memorable rivalry games in Walnut history. It was a game to remember with all the flashy plays, intense brawling, enthusiastic cheering — and the two horses that were seen galloping across the track at half time.

The horses’ names were Joey Love and Jake “Rocky” Dytuco. Clad in their black and brown mustang costumes, the seniors drew excitement from the crowd of spectators, leading the Mustang spell out and cheering for the football players. Before every game and every pep rally, Love and Dytuco suit up as the school mascots and encourage school spirit at the events. This is their perspective — from inside the suit.

Q: What was it like inside the costume?

Dytuco: “It was like confusing because we were dancing and doing stuff but we could only hear the audience. We didn’t really know how we looked or what was happening. We heard cheering, our names being chanted, and our masks clanging around. We smelled sweat… from ourselves. I think it was really fun and it was really funny to think that we were in horse costumes and everyone’s watching us do silly stuff.”

Q: Did anyone say anything to you?

Dytuco: “Yeah lots of people wanted to take pictures with us and it felt really cool and we helped with a homecoming asking. Afterwards, everyone asked how it was and told us how hype we were and stuff.”

Q: Describe your most interesting experience as a mascot.

Dytuco: “Trying to run in the costume because I was virtually blind. Also, the Mustang spell out was really fun. It was pretty cool, like we were the center of attention and the crowd got really hyped.”

Love: “It was when we did the Mustang spell out in the crowd twice. We really got to connect with the crowd and felt unified as a school…”

Dytuco: “…Despite the score of the game.”

Compiled by Bryan Wong and Cherie Chu

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