GOING ON THE OFFENSIVE
For many high schools across America, football season is a big deal. Not just for the players, but for the community, too - and for North Moore High School in Robbins, North Carolina, it’s no different.
But it wasn’t always that way. Just a few short years ago, there wasn’t much excitement about the varsity team at all.
“There wasn’t anybody into it,” a senior quarterback recounted to a local publication of his experience as a freshman. “Now it’s enjoyable to play football. People come to watch you and holler and stuff like that. You get into it a lot better.”
Tweet courtesy of North Moore High School Athletics.
Recent years have seen a rise in both the Mustangs’ performance on the field and the dedication of its fanbase. As the community rallies their support around the team on and off the field, the players feel more fulfilled and motivated to play at their best. This came to a head during the 2021 season, where the Mustangs’ stellar performance granted them the opportunity to host a conference title game for the first time since 1996. The excitement in Robbins was electric, to say the least.
Sadly, the Mustangs lost that game and ended their championship run, but it made them that much more motivated to avenge the loss in the 2022 season and build on the excitement from their fanbase.
“Last year [in 2021] we were having packed houses where people were tailgating before the games, hanging out, or just want to be a part of what we’re doing,” varsity coach Andrew Carrouth shared in an interview with HighSchoolOT.com. “There’s a lot of great places in the state to go watch football, but there’s not a lot of places where the whole community shows up on a Friday night to be able to see it.”
And show up, the community did - for the games and then some! Starting with a tailgate chili cookout, a series of fundraising events kicked off at the end of the season to raise money for a custom inflatable tunnel that they would use for the following year.
Tweet courtesy of North Moore High School Athletics.
When they were zeroing in on their goal amount, that’s when North Moore found us.
GETTING TOGETHER A GAME PLAN
Initially, NMHS Athletic Director Chris Coble was looking at an 18ft long branded inflatable tunnel - it would have their team colors, school name, and mascot logo printed on it.
Basic tunnels are less expensive as far as custom inflatables go, so they’re typically the first choice. But during the quote process, Chris had an idea for something a little more unique.
He was elated to find out, thanks to the amazing generosity of the community, that they’d raised enough money for a completely custom, one-of-a-kind inflatable mascot tunnel - and that we had the capability to do it.
Can you make an inflatable tunnel with our mascot’s head as the entrance? Chris asked.
We sure can, was our reply.
North Moore’s Mustang mascot logo is beautiful, but it’s a pretty complex piece of artwork to convert from a 2D design to a 3D structure. Luckily, our amazing teams in service and production were up to the challenge! We worked closely with Chris to first conceptualize the mascot tunnel with a 2D reference design, and then later coordinated with our production staff to create the 3D model that would serve as the template for the final product.
The challenge was making sure we maintained as much detail and essence of their mascot as possible, while also ensuring the inflatable would be structurally sound.
With our other inflatables such as arches and basic tunnels or helmets, we work with standard templates that’ve already been tried and tested, so it streamlines the process considerably. With something like this that’s totally one-of-a-kind, making sure it will translate from a computer generated model to a real-life giant inflatable needs a little extra attention.
Learn more about how we fabricate custom inflatables in the video below.
After a few revisions to the 3D model, North Moore gave us the final green light in early July and production could officially begin!
A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE (INFLATABLE) TUNNEL
Typically, our production time for custom inflatables is anywhere from 7-20 business days, not including delivery time. This can vary with the complexity of the inflatable, plus the time of year and varying demand. Summer is our busiest season for inflatable tunnels and helmets with schools ordering them to prepare for the fall semester, so sometimes we need the full 20 days to print, fabricate, and quality test before we ship a display.
North Moore’s varsity football season - and the start of their renewed quest for the championship - was set to kick off in mid-August, so our production team rallied hard to get the tunnel to them as quickly as possible. We were able to complete the inflatable tunnel in just two weeks!
After final quality testing, the tunnel was on its way to its new home, where it would deliver within the next week, just in time for their season to begin.
When we checked in upon delivery, North Moore’s feedback was glowing! “Our athletes love it,” Chris told us. They plan to use the tunnel for more teams once football season wraps up, so all of the school’s athletic programs can enjoy it.
Photo courtesy of North Moore High School Athletics.
It’s safe to say that for the North Moore Mustangs, this custom inflatable mascot tunnel turned out to be a total touchdown.
No matter if you’re a high school, club program, or D1 college team, custom inflatable tunnels and helmets are a surefire way to pump up team pride. Get a quote today or give us a call at (800) 980-6871!