Ted Ovletrea spends much of his time dressed up as a raccoon named Rascal, but it's not all fun and games for the entrepreneur.
The Lewisville resident has the honor of being a positive role model for thousands of young people and adults alike and is currently engaged in a 100 show tour of Metroplex schools from Flower Mound to Alvarado where a message of commitment, organization, responsibility and enthusiasm is presented.
This unusual career path started for Ovletrea when he was in high school. A knee injury prevented him from playing football, so he decided to try out for the role of team mascot which was a giant St. Bernard.
"I was always the class clown," Ovletrea comments, "and it was a natural fit." While in college, he became an intern at Disney World in Orlando and spent hours each day dressed up as a variety of Disney characters including Pluto, Goofy, Tigger and many more.
It still seemed like a natural fit for Ovletrea, who eventually ended up with a high-profile gig as Rowdy, the official mascot for the Dallas Cowboys for 12 years. That stint ended in 2009, and he decided to take all the experience and knowledge he had gained over the years to start his own company, CMI Universal.
The nucleus of that company is Rascal the Raccoon, a character Ovletrea developed who recently became the official mascot of the Allen Wranglers Professional Indoor Football Team.
Ovletrea and his alter ego also started a community outreach program for elementary and middle school students all over North Texas called C.O.R.E. (Commitment, Organization, Responsibility, Enthusiasm) where he delights in being a positive role model.
“We hold pep rallies for the entire student body, stressing teamwork, positive problem solving, anti-bullying, stranger danger, and interpersonal skills, to name a few,” said Ovletrea. “The kids, teachers and administrators love it!”
The company is an entertainment and marketing meld, and Rascal the Wrangler is also available for all sorts of appearances, including parties, grand openings, hospital and school events, parades, and just about any other type of situation where Rascal can spread his message of positive reinforcement.
Oveltrea says one of the most under-utilized assets of sports leagues and its local franchises are the mascots. While the promotion of a quality product is the primary business of the league and its clubs, as it should be, the team mascots offer a unique product that is fun, entertaining and captivating for all ages.
Rascal makes a lasting impression on kids and adults alike, and as Oveltrea puts it, “Players will come and go but the mascots will always be there.”
With that belief in the forefront, Oveltrea said CMI Universal is very much about making memories and impacting kids and families, as well as strengthening community relations.
He said his company is designed not only to make people smile, sing and laugh but also seeks to provide a much needed perspective that sports – whether you’re playing or watching - should be enjoyed regardless of the win-loss record.
For more information about Ovletrea or Rascal the Wrangler, visit www.cmiuniversal.com.