Dan Meers promises the people attending the Clarinda Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet at the Clarinda Country Club Monday, Feb. 10, will have fun because mascots don’t do boring.
For the past 30 years Meers has portrayed KC Wolf, the popular mascot of the Kansas City Chiefs. Over that time, Meers said he has learned serving as KC Wolf is far more than just a job.
“I found out an occupation is how you pay your bills, but your preoccupation is your passion in life. My preoccupation is my faith, my family and using my life to make a positive impact on the world. That’s what I love about my job. It’s a great platform for that,” Meers said.
That sentiment also serves as the foundation for the banquet theme, “Courageous Leadership – Living a Life of Influence.” The evening will begin with social time at 6 p.m. Dinner is set for 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7:30 p.m.
Meers is in high demand not only as a mascot, but also has a humorous and motivational speaker to audiences of all ages. His enthusiasm, optimism and love of life are contagious and that makes Meers an inspiration to all those he meets.
“Dan Meers is a fantastic speaker and will definitely provide a wonderful message. The banquet is a great opportunity to recognize our many Chamber volunteers, announce the Spirit of Clarinda Award recipients, network with area business leaders and listen to a highly motivational speaker,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Elaine Farwell said.
“Sometimes we forget what an impact we can have on the lives of others. You don’t have to be a professional mascot or athlete. Every one of us can make this a better world by the way we live our life every day. That is what I encourage people to do,” Meers said.
After growing up in St. Charles, Missouri, Meers attended the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. It was there, in 1986, he first started his career as a mascot.
“I read an article in the school newspaper they were holding tryouts to be the school mascot – Truman Tiger. I went to the meeting, tried out and got the job. So, for four years I ran around in a tiger outfit and had a lot of fun,” Meers said.
Following college, Meers served as Fredbird, the mascot of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, for a short time. He was then contacted by the Kansas City Chiefs about the new KC Wolf mascot program the team was starting. He moved to Kansas City and still lives there today with his wife, Cam, and their three children.
“I love it because I never have the same day twice. Some days I visit schools or hospitals, and others I appear in parades or at football games. Because of that variety I meet a lot of really nice people every day and have been able to travel to a lot of interesting places,” Meers said.
Over the course of his career, Meers has appeared in Africa, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, London, Mexico, the Philippines, and twice in Tokyo. In addition, Meers has had the privilege of working with several orphanages around the world.
“When I’m in costume, I can communicate with kids in any language,” Meers said. “When I speak to kids out of the costume, I talk to them about life being all about choices. If you make good choices, good things happen. If you make bad choices, you reap what you sow.”
Meers also knows all the other mascots in the National Football League and loves visiting the other stadiums around the league.
However, Meers said there is no place like home. For the Kansas City Chiefs and their fans, that home is Arrowhead Stadium.
“When you’re a mascot, you try to have a good time whether you’re in Kansas City or on the road,” Meers said. “When I started with the Chiefs, Marty Schottenheimer was the coach. The fans were very passionate and they are still just as passionate today. Winning helps, I know that, but Chiefs fans are loyal and that’s what I love about them.”
As KC Wolf, Meers said his job on game day is to get the fans excited about the team and the game that week. However, with fans like the Chiefs have, his job is pretty simple.
“Chiefs fans are always fun. They are excited as soon as they get to the parking lot to start tailgating and they love their Chiefs, so working with them makes my job easy. I think they like me and I love them. They’re loud and they like their football,” Meers said.
The Kansas City faithful showed that love of football Sunday, Jan. 12, when the Chiefs hosted the Houston Texans in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs. The Texans jumped out to a 24-0 lead before the Chiefs stormed back for a 51-31 victory.
“Winning adds excitement and there is a lot of excitement in Kansas City right now, especially after that game Sunday,” Meers said prior to the Chiefs’ game Sunday, Jan. 19, against the Tennessee Titans in Kansas City for the AFC Conference title.
Attending the Clarinda Chamber of Commerce Banquet will mark the second time Meers has visited Clarinda. Between 10 and 15 years ago he visited Garfield Elementary School as KC Wolf and spoke with the students. Meers said he is looking forward to returning to the community.
“I was excited to be asked to attend. One of the things I love about my job is meeting people and opportunities like banquets are always fun. I love Iowa. I travel a lot, but the more I travel the more I love the Midwest. The people here are the salt of the earth,” Meers said. “Hopefully we can celebrate a Super Bowl win together when I come up.”
Bank Iowa, Clarinda Herald-Journal, Clarinda Regional Health Center, Clarinda Youth Corporation, Cornerstone Bank, Eiler Place, EZ Way Inc., Lisle Corporation/EZ Way Inc., NSK Corporation, NSK-AKS Precision Ball Company, PCSB Bank and Taylor Pharmacy are sponsoring the keynote presentation.
Dinner reservations for the banquet are $20 per person and can be made by calling the Clarinda Chamber office at 712-542-2166. The deadline for reservations is Wednesday, Feb. 5.