There is troubling news in WuShock land.
First, something we already suspected is true: There is more than one WuShock. And two of them are graduating at the end of this semester, Wichita State University head cheerleading coach Kelli Rappard confirmed Thursday.
This means the WSU Spirit Squad will be holding auditions for more WuShocks.
An informational meeting on trying out will be at 6 p.m. April 18 at the Heskett Center. Tryouts will be held at 11 a.m. April 19.
To try out, a person has to be enrolled at WSU for at least 12 credit hours – nine if they are a graduate student – and have a GPA of 2.3.
“They must have an enthusiasm for Wichita State University,” Rappard said, “and have a flexible schedule.”
Wu annually does between 500 and 600 events a year. The next WuShocks will receive a $600 scholarship that can go toward their books and tuition.
So who could be Wu?
“We are looking for people that can make people laugh and feel good about what Wichita State represents,” Rappard said. “WuShock is Wichita State and must be bigger than life.”
Specifically, the new Wu must be at least 5 feet 7 inches tall, not mind sweating and have the ability to withstand temperatures of 100 degrees.
“The WuShock suit absorbs sweat,” Rappard explained. “If you would take the temperature inside that suit, it can be 100 degrees or more.”
Wait. How would she know that?
“I’ve been Wu,” Rappard said. “My husband has been Wu. We’ve had a couple of girls dress up as Wu when we didn’t have WuShock people available.”
WuShock’s a … girl?
“The people inside the suit can be anyone,” Rappard said. “But the persona they play is a boy, technically.”
Wu has to be a people person, an extrovert who doesn’t mind taking a little bit of abuse.
“If something happens that makes Wu sad, he must be able to say that through his body movements,” Rappard said. “Show us what you are feeling.
“You have to be good with kids. Kids are our best people to be around, and our worst enemies.”
WuShock has been kicked and punched by kids. Shocks of wheat have been yanked from Wu.
So, how many WuShocks are there?
“We have eight suits on campus,” Rappard said. “But just like there are 20 million Santa Claus suits in America, there is only one Santa.
“The persona of Wu is such that we try really hard not to let him be seen in two places at once.”