California Baptist University’s well-known mascot, “Lance the Lancer,” has grown historically with CBU’s Athletics Department.
Lance was first introduced in 1955 when CBU, then known as California Baptist College, moved to Riverside. From NAIA to NCAA, Division II to Division I, Lance has been cheering on the Athletics Department throughout the entire journey.
In the 10 years that Dr. Micah Parker, director of Athletics, has been working at CBU, he said he has been entertained by Lance’s tricks such as backflips and running with flags.
When Parker started his career as the athletics director in 2009, the Lancer suit needed to be updated and modernized. The department took some time to redesign the mascot costume, which he said cost an approximately shocking $10,000. Since Parker first began his time at CBU, the costume has been redesigned twice.
Lance the Lancer’s physical appearance has gone through some small but significant changes such as the changing of the lowercase “cbu” to all capital letters, which changed with the rebranding of the university. Most improvements have been made internally to improve fan engagement with Lance the mascot.
Vinh Aven, assistant athletic director for marketing and fan engagement, said Lance has definitely changed since the 1950s.
“If you look back compared to now, Lance probably started eating like a Lancer, working out like a Lancer,” Aven said. “He’s much bigger, stronger and (more) fit. His appearance is much more muscular and he has a bigger presence.”
As athletics grows, so does its fanbase. Over the years, the Lancer costume has been redesigned to focus more on fan engagement. The current suit has hard sole shoes that allow Lance to make louder noises when he stomps. Adjustments have also been made to his gloves, allowing him to use his hands more effectively.
Former CBU cheerleader Olivia Miller, who is now assistant cheer coach, said that when she was a student at CBU Lance used to tumble and do back flips, which set Lance apart from other mascots.
In 2012, for the first time in school history, Lance entered the National Cheerleaders Association Mascot Competition and took seventh place in the Top 10.
“The environment is growing. The more he can communicate with the crowd and create noise, it builds the energy during game day,” Miller said.
Lance plays a crucial role at CBU. His role during games is especially important to keep energy going throughout the venue. He is interactive with children and takes photos with fans. From 1955 to present-day, Lance has grown just as much as the university he represents.