In a February 29, 2020 “changing of the collar” ceremony, Butler Blue III, also known as Trip, relinquished his collar signifying Butler Blue IV (Blue) as successor to the official live mascot of Butler University.
Prior to the Butler, DePaul University men’s basketball game at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Trip’s handler Michael Kaltenmark and his wife Tiffany along with their two sons, Everett and Miles, watched as Butler President James M. Danko removed the collar from around Trip’s neck and placed it around the neck of Blue.
Brian Kenny representing Reis-Nichols Jewelers, creators of the custom-made mascot collar, looked on.
After donning the collar, Blue’s handler and owner Evan Krauss lifted him into the air to cheers from the crowd—before he and his wife Kennedy escorted the mascot-to-be from the floor.
Trip and Kaltenmark accepted more cheers from the crowd before Trip did his traditional running of the bone as the team entered the court.
“This event ushers in the next chapter for the Butler mascot program,” said Krauss. “I just want to thank Michael (Kaltenmark). He has taught me so much over the past seven years I’ve worked with him.”
Trip will remain in his current role as official live mascot until the end of the 2019–2020 academic year. In the meantime, Blue IV and his handler are training side-by-side learning their new responsibilities, which recently included a graduation for Blue from the Bark Tutor School for Dogs.
When asked how the puppy is adjusting to his new role, Krauss smiled.
“Blue has been a dream dog and is taking to his training like a champ,” he said. “But speaking for both of us, the support from the Butler Community has been overwhelming and has meant the world to us.”
“Do the job, do it well and don’t forget to have fun doing it. That would be Trip’s advice to Blue,” said Kaltenmark. “Trip loves the job—loves to work—but he never takes things too seriously.”
After eight proud years on the job, Trip has earned his retirement. Plus, his energetic heir to the throne is ready for the very physical demands of leading the Butler faithful.
An American Kennel Club-Registered English Bulldog like his predecessors (Blue I, II, and III), the equally adorable Blue IV is described by those involved in finding the new mascot as “super cool”—an important quality to have when representing the “Butler Way” to the world.
The changing of the guard (dog) means the younger Blue will soon be leader of the pack.
While welcoming the next Blue and saying goodbye to number III could be a bittersweet time, fans of the much beloved Trip can rest assured, following his farewell tour, he moves on to an even more essential role in life—providing love and affection to his fur dad Kaltenmark who underwent a kidney transplant earlier this year.
“Thanks to Evan we’ve been able to manage and keep him (Trip) working,” said Kaltenmark. “However, I will say that because of my kidney transplant, our return to action together is just going to make Trip’s last months on the job that much more poignant and special.”
With the official change in May, Kaltenmark will step aside from his live mascot handling duties but will continue as the University’s Director of External Relations and plans to stay involved in the live mascot program. Don’t be surprised if you see mascot emeritus Trip around campus from time to time.
If Trip could talk, Kaltenmark believes he would let the entire Butler family know; “You’ve made me the luckiest dog on the planet. In return, I hope I have brought you joy during my years as your mascot. It’s truly been my honor and pleasure. Thank you for making me feel loved as I wind things down this year.”