On March 4, 2020, history was made one more time at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse, and a CBS Evening News crew, with legendary network television reporter Dean Reynolds, was there to cover the story.
No, we’re not talking about the nationally ranked Butler men’s basketball team’s 77-55 dismantling of St. John’s. Although that was a fun one to watch. We’re talking about the last game at Hinkle Fieldhouse for Butler Blue III (Trip), and the celebration of Michael Kaltenmark’s 16-year run as the University’s live mascot handler—a run that spanned the careers of much-loved English Bulldog mascots Butler Blue II and Trip.
In the location some might call the cradle for Hoosier Hysteria, the roars from the Hinkle crowd that night were just as deafening for Kaltenmark and Trip as they were for the thrilling basketball action on the floor.
As Kaltenmark and Trip finished one more run for the bone, took their last lap around the Hinkle court, and made an emotional final stop at the Dawg Pound, the crowd chanted, “Michael! Michael! Michael!” The TV camera was there to capture the entire scene for a nationwide broadcast.
In the college basketball world, the Butler mascot carries a lot of celebrity, and Trip’s appearance is a favorite part of any event. Kaltenmark has dealt with health issues for years. In January, he underwent a kidney transplant and has overcome an enormous challenge to be able to return to duty so quickly.
The CBS crew visited with Kaltenmark, his wife Tiffany, their two sons Everett and Miles, and—of course—Trip, to catch their pre-game routine. They talked about what is involved in being part of Trip’s family, as well as the transition toward retirement at Butler’s May 9 Commencement.
And in case you thought Trip’s appeal is just an Indiana thing, after an exhaustive day of taping, the reporter, producer, videographer, and sound man reflected on the day. One member of the crew was overheard to say, “That was a fun one.”