Mountaineer sounds off official start of MOV Amateur Classic

MINERAL WELLS – The Mid-Ohio Valley Amateur Classic didn’t mess around when it designated Saturday’s opening round as a shotgun start.

Once golfers reached their assigned holes, West Virginia University mascot Jonathon Kimble fired his musket to signify the green light for individuals to start their round.

Kimble joined former WVU quarterback Pat White as the tournament’s guests of honor.

“It’s great being around the people of West Virginia,” said Kimble, who calls Franklin, W.Va., his hometown. “I get to be an ambassador for not only West Virginia University, but for the state of West Virginia as we go forward in the Big 12 Conference.

“It’s incredible. People in the Big 12 are understanding what West Virginia is all about, and I get to show them what almost heaven is all about.”

Kimble’s passion and enthusiasm as part of WVU’s “maniac cheering section” kick-started his path to become the Mountaineer mascot.

“My friends said you need to grow out that beard and become the Mountaineer,” Kimble said.

Kimble went through intense procedures to finally get selected on his third attempt. In addition to filling out an application 8 to 10 pages long with five essay questions, he had to sit through a half-hour interview where a panel of 15 people rattled off questions.

Once the field was whittled down to four candidates, Kimble still had to sell himself for one half of a basketball game as part of the tryout.

“You put on the buckskins and you’re watched by how well you cheer and your interaction with the crowd,” Kimble said.

When the call arrived telling him he was a Mountaineer mascot, Kimble was hit by a rush of emotion and adrenaline.

“It’s the ultimate fan’s dream come true,” Kimble said. “Right now, I’m just living the dream.”

Kimble has a bachelor’s degree in sports management and is currently pursuing his master’s in industrial labor relations.

“I travel with the football team and I’m looking forward to going to the other Big 12 schools this year,” he said. We go to Norman, Okla., the second week of the season for Oklahoma. We also go to Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State and TCU. It gives me another great year of traveling, and ‘m looking forward to it.”