It’s rare for a mascot to reveal his true identity inside a costume.
Trey Mock, whose alter ego is Blue of the Indianapolis Colts, often has a purpose for removing his mascot head during his high school shows.
“The basis for the show is, ‘I take off my mask, now you quit hiding behind your mask,’’’ he said. “When we stop hiding behind a mask and become transparent, we can have a connection. When we have a connection, we can choose love and not hate. It’s a powerful show. But I break all the (mascot) rules, for sure.”
The 42-year-old Westfield resident, who debuted as the character of Blue in 2006, is one of 14 full-time mascots of the NFL’s 27 mascots. Blue was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2020.
“Some people think it’s just 10 games, but we average 500 appearances a year,” Mock said. “I’ve done over 2,000 school shows in the state of Indiana over the past 17 seasons.”
The games are not the best part of his job.
“On hospital visits, you don’t know what a person young or old is dealing with, and to be able for five minutes to allow them to escape that and just have a moment of laughter, that’s the best part, for sure,” he said.
Mock, from Marietta, Ga., went to Auburn University to become an architect. When he saw Aubie the Tiger perform at freshman orientation at the football stadium, he was intrigued.
“Aubie was hilarious and athletic,” he said. “I was curious if it was a paid professional or a student.”
Mock eventually tried out and earned the role, which came with a scholarship.
After college, he spent a year as Freddie Falcon’s backup, expecting to take over the full-time job the next year. When Freddie decided to stay, Mock left to become the Buffalo Bills’ mascot for a year.
Then he was among 58 people interested in becoming the Colts’ first mascot. The Colts narrowed it to 20 candidates, and then brought in the top five to audition. He borrowed a Freddie the Falcon costume to try out.
“To my knowledge, it’s the only mascot in professional sports that was created by a person and not by the team,” Mock said. “The lure was to build the character and build it the right way.”
For the first few years, Mock chased laughs like he was taught as Aubie. However, in 2010, an experience changed him when he was asked to spend five minutes on the field for a Make-A-Wish guest. He was simply given a name of Karen, and when he got on the field, he saw twin girls and learned Karen was their mother in the wheelchair.
“Karen had terminal cancer and she just realized she could use her Make-A-Wish to create the perfect day for her family,” Mock said. “Those five minutes turned into two hours. That was not a moment of sadness, it was pure laughter. After I waved goodbye, something felt different about that appearance.”
Two months later, he said a police officer asked if he could hop into the crowd to visit a woman who was begging to see him, sohe climbed into the stands. The woman rushed to greet him and started hugging him while crying.
“I thought to myself, ‘Whatever happens, don’t let go of this hug first because she needs it,’” Mock said.
After a few moments, she revealed she was Karen’s mother and wanted him to know Karen had lost her battle with cancer. It was Mock’s turn to cry.
“She said, ‘I’ll never be able to repay you for what you gave my family,’” Mock said. “It hit me that I was taught to get laughs and applause to make myself feel better. That flipped a switch that I have to give people the opportunity to laugh. From that day on, my life changed professionally and personally.”
Mock said his plan is to remain Blue until he’s at least 50.
“I get paid to be a big kid,” he said. “When I feel like I’m slipping, I’ll hang it up. I feel like I got this season and another seven seasons in me, which would be Blue’s 25th season. I also want to be able to lift my grandkids up. It takes a toll on your body.”
Mock has had three knee surgeries and one on each shoulder and hand. He usually loses 13 pounds of water weight on game day because of the heat inside the costume.
“It’s about 40 degrees hotter than whatever temperature you’re in,” he said. “You just have to hydrate.”
Mock and his wife, Alison, a former Colts cheerleader, met in 2006. They married in 2008 and moved to Westfield. She is a teacher at Maple Glen Elementary School, where both of their children attend. Gunnar is in fourth grade and Tegan is in second grade.
It started when Trey Mock was asked by a friend if Blue could visit Carmel resident Tyler Trent, a Purdue University student who had a rare bone cancer. Trent earned national attention as a Purdue superfan.
“When Trey came to our house as Blue to visit Tyler and ended up taking his mascot head off, I knew we were at the start of a special friendship,” said his mother, Kelly Trent. “He ended up staying a couple of hours that day. Tyler and Trey became fast friends. He was a massive support to him as well as our entire family. Trey spent time with us like a family member, always bringing fun and smiles to the home.”
Mock was immediately impressed.
“I was blown away by how amazing and smart Tyler was and how passionate he was about life,” Mock said. “What an incredible young man.”
Mock was invited by the family to join them when Tyler was named honorary captain for the Purdue football team in the game against Auburn in the Music City Bowl Dec. 26, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. Colts owner Jim Irsay sent the family and friends, including Mock, on a private plane.
Tyler died a few days later on Jan. 1, 2019, and Mock was asked to speak at the memorial service.
“It was a special and priceless season of Tyler’s life, in part to Trey, and truly, he became family to us,” Kelly said.