Friendly faces in the crowd: BHSU fan cutouts fill seats at games

Black Hills State University athletes are welcoming a new type of fan to Yellow Jackets games this year
Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 3:45 PM CST
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SPEARFISH, S.D. (KOTA) - The halls of basketball arenas are a bit quieter than normal, and the fans are more rigid than in years past.

With limited fans, on a game-by-game basis, Black Hills State Athletics has filled the stands with cutouts. For $50, people can buy a cutout that will sit in the stands for basketball and volleyball games, and maybe even indoor track and field.

Though an athletic department official thought the Yellow Jackets would be able to have more fans at the turn of the new year, the student-athletes are taking the adversity in stride.

“We’re extremely proud of our student-athletes and how they’ve handled everything from day one of, ‘hey, you guys are doing school online for the rest of the spring semester,’” said Thayer Trenhaile, Assistant Athletic Direction of External operations at BHSU. “They’ve been really good with their COVID protocols, masking, and being respectful not only on campus but in the community.”

While other schools across college hoops are filling their stands with cutouts, BHSU, so far, is the only team in their conference to do so.

“We have not seen any RMAC institutions do that,” said Trenhaile. “But, the company that we partnered with-- MyFanSeats-- they’re working with Wake Forest, Florida A&M, they did the Alamo Bowl this year as well. So, we’re in good company with the schools in that boat.”

The cost of the cutout directly benefits the athletic department, and at the end of the year, Trenhaile said BHSU will give the cutouts to whoever bought it. He has already picked his favorite.

“I mean, they’re all pretty sweet, but I would have to say that panda is pretty funny and I have not seen a cardboard cutout any like it across the country yet,” said Trenhaile.

Click here to order the cutouts.

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