Dan Meers has spent more hours than he can count in a mascot suit. From being Truman the Tiger at Mizzou during his college days to Fredbird for the St. Louis Cardinals immediately after and now KC Wolf for the Kansas City Chiefs, he’s spent over thirty years bringing joy to crowds with his antics.
“I wake up and put on a suit and tail instead of a suit and a tie to go to work,” he says.
Meers has played KC Wolf since the mascot’s creation in 1989. The Wolf was created to replace the organization’s original mascot, a horse ridden by a man dressed in Native American regalia.
Meers, who got a degree in broadcast journalism, never pictured he’d make this his career.
“I thought I might be here a couple years doing KC Wolf and then go out and get a real job like everybody else,” he says. “Well, thirty years later, I haven’t quite got around to getting a real job yet.”
Meers does all the things classic mascots do. He visits fans at their seats and tailgates, helps celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and proposals, dances around on the sidelines and does crazy stunts.
“My job as a mascot is to generate excitement and enthusiasm,” he says. “The thing I love about Chiefs fans is they’re excited and enthused well before they ever walk into the stadium. So they just make my job easy.”
Meers has established himself as an icon not only in Kansas City but around the country. He has done events with Shaq and a commercial with Ben Stiller. He’s seen quarterbacks come and go—Patrick Mahomes was born six years after Meers began his stint as KC Wolf.
He’s also had some hard times. In 2013, while practicing a new stunt—it involved him bungee jumping from the top of Arrowhead stadium then immediately ziplining across the field—something went horribly wrong. A zipline with too much slack caused him to fall seventy feet. Meers spent nine days in the hospital and was in rehab for six months.
“I knocked a couple of seats out of the concrete,” Meers says. “Not only did I mess up the seats, they damaged my body pretty well, too. Even though it was a painful experience, I learned a lot of valuable lessons through that time. Number one, how much I love what I do.”
Meers does more than tailgate appearances and heart-pumping stunts. He has a mission, and it’s to bring happiness to those around him.
“We see a lot of negative,” he says. “I want to use my platform to make a positive impact.”During his time off, Meers visits orphanages from Haiti to India, bringing KC Wolf with him wherever he goes so children everywhere can experience the joy Meers can give them.
“Even though most of these kids don’t know who KC Wolf is or who the Chiefs are or what American football is, if they see a costumed character, you’re friends immediately,” he says.
Meers has also written two books, Wolves Can’t Fly and Mascot on a Mission. (He donated every cent of profit from their sales.) He also does workshops and programs for everything from corporate retreats to elementary school assemblies.
“I want to be remembered not as a mascot, but as a man who loved the Lord and loved people,” he says. “I want people to know that I love them.”