By Marcy Patterson
Dan Meers spoke to the Jacksonville Kiwanis Club as part of the “Clergy Appreciation Day” meeting last week. He also spent time at Westfair Christian Academy and Jacksonville Middle School. Meers is a professional mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs football team, widely known as KC Wolf. He travels throughout the United States and the world entertaining thousands of people, both in and out of costume.
He began his career in 1986 at the University of Missouri-Columbia, dressed as the school mascot, Truman Tiger. He was selected the nation’s #1 college mascot at the 1989 National Collegiate Mascot Championships. As graduation approached, he began to receive offers to use his talents at the professional level. After graduating with honors, Meers decided to trade in his tiger stripes for bird feathers and began his professional career as Fredbird, the mascot for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. He stayed only a brief time. He was offered a job in professional football and decided to exchange his bird suit to become a wolf.
On November 23, 2013, Meers came within inches of losing his life while practicing a bungee jump and zip line stunt at Arrowhead Stadium (home of the Kansas City Chiefs). What Meers anticipated being the thrill of a lifetime ended up being the spill of a lifetime. The stunt went terribly wrong, and Meers plummeted 75 feet before crashing into the stadium seats. Miraculously he survived and spent nine days in the hospital and got some big scars. Meers smiled when he said, “Scars are just tattoos that come with a cool story.”
Meers explained, “It’s been said that if you ask a man his occupation, you will find out how he pays his bills, but if you ask a man his preoccupation then you will discover the passion of his life.” For over 25 years he has paid his bills by working as KC Wolf. However, he explained that his preoccupation — what he is truly passionate about — is encouraging others to strive for the best in life and to enjoy it each step along the way.
During his mascot career, Meers has presented at over 3,000 school assemblies and youth programs to students of all ages. He does these programs for one simple reason — he loves young people! He has three children of his own and he knows the importance of good role models in the community. His programs are designed to “Edutain” (educate and entertain). He believes that learning should be fun, and he offers programs on a variety of topics including character education fitness and nutrition, anti-bullying and reading. This special visit to Jacksonville was made possible by support from Todd Sweatman and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Jacksonville Kiwanis Club, the Jacksonville Rotary Club, Thrivent Financial and the Jacksonville Area Conference of Churches.