Olivero: Denver Broncos mascot Miles riles up much more than Mile High
Family connection led to Broncos mascot joining Tigers football team Friday
BRECKENRIDGE — For the Denver Broncos fans on the Summit High School football team, a part of Friday’s Senior Night was as close to realizing the dream of running on the field as a Bronco they’ll ever get.
The Denver Broncos mascot, Miles, led the Tigers onto the frozen Tiger Stadium turf on Friday night before a thrilling 36-30 loss to Glenwood Springs. Prior to the game, Miles joined Tiger seniors Al Espinoza, Daniel Gonzalez, Zayden Gerry, Alexi Nevarez and Joseph Burgos while taking Senior Night photos with family and friends.
Then Miles unfurled his giant Broncos flag and ran with it, leading the Tigers onto the field before joining the home team for the national anthem. During the game, the mascot energized the Tiger crowd in the stands, waved his flag after Tiger scores and tossed souvenir T-shirts to kids in the bleachers.
The Summit football program was able to bring Miles to the game thanks to junior tight end and linebacker Ethan Gamburg. Gamburg’s uncle, Brad Post, is the mascot coordinator for the Broncos. The job has brought Post across the globe, to the playoffs and to Super Bowl during his 15 seasons with the team. But it was above 9,000 feet — nearly 2 miles high — up in the already snow-socked Rockies where Post and the Broncos’ “Miles Mobile” found themselves on a frigid November night.
“For him to visit us in our little mountain community is pretty awesome,” Gamburg’s mother said. “It’s totally from the kindness of his heart and his love for football.”
Though Post said Miles has been to Breckenridge before as part of the Broncos Country Caravan program, he said this was the first time he could recall Miles making an appearance at a Summit High football game. Post said it’s always special when Miles can go beyond the Denver metro and Front Range area to energize fans at games or events across the entire state’s colorful landscape.
“We put on a lot of miles in the Miles Mobile,” Post said. “…We’ve literally hit all four corners. We’ve been to the Four Corners (Monument), Grand Junction, Craig, Salida, Strasburg. We’ve really made a concerted effort to hit all of the far flung regions of Broncos Country.”
Though Post said he thinks being entertaining, silly and funny are all important elements of what mascots do, he said empathy is often an overlooked variable. When outside the Denver metro area, Post said fans often are surprised to see Miles. Wherever they meet the mascot, at Mile High or at a Boys & Girls Club, the most important thing to Post is connecting with communities, namely children.
“Making people happy,” Post said, “making people smile. And kind of letting people know the Broncos are out there and we support them as much as they support us.”
Come gameday, it’s an example of community connection that takes up much of Post’s time, via the “Mini Miles” Broncos Kids Club program. Each game day, the Broncos give a child from the club between the ages of 6-12 the opportunity to dress up as a miniature version of the mascot. From there, Mini Miles follows the real Miles during pregame as the heartbeat of the stadium’s energy, pumping up the crowd.
Considering the challenge of being the most energetic entity in all of Empower Field at Mile High Stadium come Sundays, one would think Miles’ fitness would be of utmost importance. Post said that’s where Friday night’s game at Tiger Stadium played a role as well, as there is no better preparation for Miles’ eight-plus-hour marathon of photos, flag waving and general rebel-rousing than doing precisely that for a few hours under Friday night lights.
“The more he’s out in the community,” Post said, “The more he is training for gameday, just being Miles is a workout in and of itself.”
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