Andrew Reed, 19, is a nice, normal guy —when he has his clothes on.
Reed, who is 6 feet 2 inches and 243 pounds, stands out in the crowd on a daily basis, but nearly every Saturday at Folsom Field he takes his presence to a whole new level.
There he transforms into the “CU Barrel Man”.
Currently on medical leave for the semester, Reed continues to rile up the black and gold student section.
“I felt like at my high school we weren’t showing enough school spirit,” Reed said. “The kids didn’t appreciate how good we were, the attendance to the games was pretty low, and I just wanted to bring some more spirit to the sidelines.”
Reed said that right away, Barrel Man became a huge hit at J.K. Mullen. Attendance rose, and a lot of it was because people wanted to see “that crazy guy in the barrel,” says Reed. Reed said he wanted to be “that guy” who people knew around his high school as someone who loved the school. But Reed’s not the first guy to wear a barrel at a Colorado sporting event.
A large part of Reed’s inspiration to become the great super-fan he is today he attributes to the Broncos fan, Tim McKernan. McKernan started going to Broncos games in 1967, and only missed four contests in the next 40 years, according to a Denver Post article about the man. It wasn’t until 1977, when McKernan lost a $10 bet to wear a barrel at one game to see if he would get on T.V., that the Barrel Man was born, according to the article. The article goes on to say that McKernan died of respiratory failure in 2009, the same year Reed decided to take up in his idol’s footsteps as a new breed of Barrel Man.
“No that’s not really my thing [being a Broncos Barrel Man], it’s more his [McKernan] deal more so,” Reed said. “I would maybe be able to do it for a different sport like the Colorado Rockies or the Denver Nuggets, but the Broncos was his deal, that’s something that just needs to stay his own. That can’t be touched because of his legacy.”
But professional sports are way in the future for Reed, because now he says he’s CU’s Barrel Man. It seems that there aren’t many people who love CU more than Reed, but for a little while, he thought about taking his act elsewhere.
“I almost went to Alabama,” Reed said. “But I love Colorado so much that I couldn’t turn my back on the state and leave, and I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve grown up a CU fan, either watching every game that was on TV or listening to non-televised games on the radio with my Dad.”
Reed’s said his decision to come to CU was partly because he saw coming here as a challenge, putting himself on a mission to increase fan support.
“[Fan support] needed to be boosted.” Reed said. “Someone needed to boost it so I found it as a challenge and an opportunity to try these four years to help boost school spirit and get people more excited about this football program and all CU sports.”
And this is exactly what CU needs. Last year, CU Boulder was awarded the No. 1 Party School in the Nation Award by the annual Playboy rankings.
“People get this bad rap about Boulder sometimes, like that no one cares about the sports here,” Reed said. “But I want them to see that we actually do care, and that Colorado is still the West and that we still got cowboys up in Boulder.”
And that’s exactly what he’s been working towards this past year, and it’s getting a lot of attention. He has close to 600 likes on his CU BARREL MAN Facebook page.
“It makes you glad to know that people appreciate what you’re doing,” Reed said. “Each week I strive to do better, and if I don’t lose my voice after a game, then I need to do better.”
Reed says he expects the future to be very bright for CU athletics in the near future because of the switch to the PAC-12 Conference. Reed also said he is ready for the “big dog” programs to come to town this year while he has “a few tricks up his sleeve.”
“Let’s just say Oregon’s not going to be the only ones with a cool uniform, because I got a cool one coming out too.” Reed said.