The man inside Jaxson De Ville
Jacksonville Jaguars Mascot Coordinator Curtis Dvorak and Downtown Council President Jepp Walter.
by Max Marbut

Staff Writer

With the start of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2010 schedule only two weeks and a day away, the Downtown Council of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce invited Curtis Dvorak, the man behind (or rather inside) team mascot Jaxson De Ville, to speak at the council’s meeting Friday.

Dvorak began his career as a sports mascot while in college at Virginia Tech, suiting up for football, basketball and baseball as “The Hokie Bird.” He was motivated to try out for the job by a desire to avoid standing in line.

“I was tired of camping out for football tickets,” said Dvorak. “I figured if I was the mascot, I’d get to be on the sidelines.”

He tried out during his junior year and finished second in the competition. In his senior year, Dvorak was chosen for the job. That’s when he noticed while watching ESPN that being the mascot for a professional team might be his calling.

“I remember thinking I was funnier than those guys and it had to be a full-time gig,” said Dvorak.

After trying out for the Charlotte Knights minor league baseball team (and finishing second), he sent an audition tape to the Jaguars, who were looking for a mascot after their inaugural season went by without a signature sideline entertainer.

Dvorak tried out in Jacksonville with 50 other candidates on July 1, 1996, and took on the persona of Jaxson De Ville exactly a month later.

“I brought a different blend of entertainment,” said Dvorak. “I didn’t think anything of it when the other coach would yell at me.”

He also introduced stunts like riding a zip-line from the top of the scoreboard to the 50-yard line and skydiving into the stadium as part of the pregame show.

De Ville’s signature “close to crossing the line” antics, said Dvorak, eventually attracted the attention of the other teams. The subject of mascot conduct even made the agenda for the 2000 NFL owners meeting.

“Along with their discussions of revenue sharing and TV deals, one of the topics was how to stop the mascots (from being too disruptive),” said Dvorak. “They showed a 10-minute video and nine and a half minutes were my highlights. It made my parents so proud.”

One of the things he most enjoys now is being a part of the Team Teal effort, which accounts for a portion of the 400 public appearances Jaxson De Ville is scheduled to make in the next year. Dvorak said the ticket sales effort is an opportunity to put rumors to rest and show the NFL that Jacksonville is serious about the home team.

“I’m tired of hearing the team might move and that Jacksonville doesn’t deserve the Jaguars,” he said. “It’s exciting to see the fans step up. We’ve already set a team record for season tickets sold in a season and when we sell out the remaining 4,300 tickets, we’ll set an NFL record.”

As the Jaguars’ first and only mascot entertainer, the 36-year old Dvorak is witnessing the Jaguars’ development of a base of lifetime fans.

“I meet kids who are in their early 20s who tell me I (Jaxson) was at their elementary school. Some of the cheerleaders tell me I was at their kindergarten,” said Dvorak.

He also said there is no one in the Jaguars organization who is more appreciative of the fans then he is.

“I make my living entertaining people out in the community. This city has given me everything I have. I even married a former member of the Roar.”

The Downtown Council meets for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. the first and third Friday of each month at Currents Riverfront Bistro in the Aetna Building. For more information, visit www.downtowncouncil.com.



Traffic pattern changes on Laura Street
The City has announced the following traffic pattern adjustment at the intersection of Laura Street and Bay Street for the next stage of the Laura Street improvement project:  

• Demolition will begin on the south side of the intersection of Bay Street and Laura Street. To accommodate the construction, traffic will be shifted to one lane to the north side of the intersection.  Eastbound traffic on Bay Street will still be allowed to flow through the intersection.

• Laura Street between Bay Street and Forsyth Street will continue to operate the same way it has during the past five months. Vehicles traveling south on Laura Street will be allowed to make a right onto Bay Street. However, they cannot cross Bay Street.

• Laura Street traffic between Independent Drive and Bay Street will be allowed to travel north from the roundabout. Vehicles leaving the Independent Square garage or SunTrust/Life of the South driveway will be routed south on Laura to the roundabout for access to eastbound or westbound Independent Drive.


Lunch and Lit Book Club

Main Library Noon-1 p.m. Info: 630-2665

Eat Up Downtown

(Through Aug. 22) Various venues and times Info: www.eatupdowntown.com

tuesday, aug. 10

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Exhibition

Museim of Science & History 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets: 396-MOSH

wednesday, aug. 11

French Storytime

Main Library 10:30 a.m. Info: 630-2665

Movie Madness

Main Library 3 p.m. Info: 630-2665

thursday, aug. 12

Tween Thing: In Stitches

Main Library 2-3 p.m. Info: 630-2665

2010 Amateur Night Auditions

The Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum 5-6 p.m. Info: 632-5555

Mistology: The Science Behind the Cocktail Contemporaries Kickoff Event

Museum of Contemporary Art 5:30-8 p.m. Tickets: 366-6911

Time Travel Pub Crawl

Various venues 5:30-10:30 p.m. Info: sarah@saraheharper.com


Main Library Hicks Auditorium 5:45 p.m. Info: 630-2665

Improv Effect

Museum of Contemporary Art 7 p.m. Tickets: 366-6911

Jacksonville Suns vs. Carolina Mudcats

The Baseball Grounds 7:05 p.m. Tickets: 358-2846

Norah Jones

Times-Union Center 8 p.m. Tickets: 632-3373

friday, aug. 13

$5 Friday

Museum of Science & History 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tickets: 396-MOSH

Hemming Plaza Market

Hemming Plaza 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Info: 634-0303

“The Wiggles Wiggly Circus”

The Florida Theatre 6:30 p.m. Tickets: 355-2787

Jacksonville Suns vs. Carolina Mudcats

The Baseball Grounds 7:05 p.m. Tickets: 358-2846

Friday Night Live: Conclave

The Landing 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Info: 353-1188

saturday, aug. 14

Youth Explosion: First Baptist Church of Oakland

Metropolitan Park 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Info: 354-5295

Riverside Arts Market

Northbank Riverwalk Artists Square 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Info: www.riversideartsmarket.com

Tour de Pain

The Landing 4:30 p.m. Info: 353-1188

Jacksonville Suns vs. Carolina Mudcats

The Baseball Grounds 7:05 p.m. Tickets: 358-2846
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