July 13, 2024

Conner Schuh | Banner Mackenzie Schmutz, sophomore graphic design major, transports the giant, stuffed bear to the location of their next photoshoot for the Instagram account @boonethebear.

A larger-than-life stuffed animal named Boone has recently taken Instagram by storm, racking up more than six thousand followers in just four weeks.

The Instagram account @boonethebear, created by sophomore graphic design majors Spencer Findlay and Mackenzie Schmutz, features a giant teddy bear in locations ranging from Palm Drive to the snowy mountains.

“We adventure a lot,” Schmutz said. “We hike and go anywhere on the weekends. Once we got the bear we decided we would try to figure out a place where we can go adventure, but also somewhere we could bring the bear.”

Findlay originally purchased the bear from Costco as a gift for his girlfriend, Schmutz. He then had the idea of creating an Instagram account when he realized the potential it had, since many were drawn to the bear’s massive size and warm smile.

“I don’t think anyone has not been surprised when they see how big (the bear) is, especially when you see him in person,” Schmutz said. “It’s crazy.”

In coming up with its name to present on social media, Findlay said they wanted it to be catchy and simple for Instagram, and after an hour of deliberation, Boone the Bear was born.

Both Findlay and Schmutz shoot and model for their account, which they say has become a fun activity they enjoy doing together.

One of their favorite types of pictures to take is comparing their bodies to the bear’s size.

“I’m a photographer and I love Instagram,” Findlay said. “I’ve seen funny, creative feature pages and I understand how it all works. Then just seeing people react to the bear walking through Costco or campus, everyone wants a picture with it. So why not share that on social media and make people smile?”

Gaining up to a hundred followers a day, Findlay said people have shown their love for this account by tagging their friends in pictures and sharing it with their own friends and families.

Schmutz said it is fun to see the interaction of other students with the bear, whether they see Boone in person or simply on social media.

Although they both agree hauling the massive bear around and coming up with creative poses may be challenging, it is something they hope to continue as long as people keep following Boone.

“We’re planning to keep it up over the summer and just seeing it grow is so encouraging,” Findlay said. “We have an audience now that enjoys it.”

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