Houston Rockets and Clutch
The Rockets Power Dancers have long been fan favorites at Rockets games and in the greater Houston area for their tremendous energy, show stopping routines, and love for the game. Founded in 1994 and led by coach and choreographer Susie Boudwin, the 22 member squad of business professionals, teachers, and students performs at all home games and at numerous community, corporate and private events throughout the year.
The Power Dancers rehearse several nights a week and perform at all Rockets home games. The dancers are truly the Rockets biggest fans, cheering on the sidelines during the games, pumping up the crowd during clutch moments, and performing dance routines to a variety of music styles. Fan favorite routines include Back in Black, We’re Not Gonna Take It, Fight for Your Right (with Clutch), Let’s Get it Started, Simply Irresistible, Hand Jive, and Let’s Get Loud.
The Power Dancers are all full time students or professionals. Engineering, education, and marketing are just a few of the career choices of this year’s Power Dancers. The dancers join with the Rockets players, coaches and business team to help make a difference in the lives of children in the local community. In addition to the time they spend with fans at local events, in recent years, the Power Dancers have also been proud to represent the Rockets at international NBA events in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, China; Manila, Philippines; and Taipei, Taiwan.
Since bursting onto the scene in 1995, Houston’s Own CLUTCH “The Rockets Bear” has become one of sport’s most celebrated mascots. With his imaginative skits and mischievous antics, Clutch personifies NBA entertainment at its best.
Named the 5th most recognizable mascot in sports by USA Today in February 2005, Clutch is the Houston Rockets’ number one fan, and can be seen cheering on his team at all Houston Rockets home games. Whether he is creating impromptu comedy, cheerleading, signing autographs, dancing with the Power Dancers (to the beat of his own drum), doling out hugs, or performing on-court skits, Clutch is always a fan favorite. Though a celebrity in his own right, he has also worked with many Hollywood celebrities, sports stars and politicians, including Jack Nicholson, Kevin Costner, George Bush Sr., Tiger Woods, Adam Sandler, Bill Murray, Nelly, Chris Tucker, Andy Roddick, Roger Clemens, and Nolan Ryan, to name a few.
While Clutch loves entertaining fans at the Toyota Center, he also makes 250-300 Houston area appearances each year, along with 20-25 out of town and international appearances. He has entertained fans all over the continental United States and Alaska, as well as in Russia, England, Kosovo, Bosnia, Canada, Mexico (2 tours), Taiwan, and China (5 tours). He is the only bear to have started a snowball fight on the Great Wall of China! At many of these events Clutch can be seen performing his hysterics not only to the beat of his own drum, but to the beat of his own rock song, “Clutch the Bear,” written and performed by Chance McClain and Frank Bullington of the band Apollo XVIII, and is available for free download at www.rockets.com.
CLUTCH’s philosophy on life can be boiled down to one easy to remember word, SMILE! CLUTCH says that SMILE stands for: Stuffed animal who everyone wants to hug, Marketing the Rockets all over the place all the time, Inspiring the Rockets and their fans to victory, Laughter is more important than anything, and Educating youth to make intelligent future oriented decisions is how we all win tomorrow. Because Clutch is passionate about helping youth, approximately 100 of his Houston area appearances are for elementary schools, where he performs an interactive show entitled “Building A Future.” The four main shows and topics covered are: “Slam Dunk TAKS” (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills), “Just Say No” for Red Ribbon Week and year round anti-drug rallies, “PRIDE” to build character and discourage bullying, and “Healthy Habits” to promote healthy lifestyle choices. In January, 2006, this Houston icon released his first children’s book, titled Clutch’s Day at the Doctor, written by Robert Boudwin and illustrated by Ninh Pham. The book tells the story of an at first apprehensive Rockets mascot and his trip to Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital. The book is on sale in the Rockets Team Shop and given out gratis to students across the city at Clutch’s “Building A Future” School Shows.
Always up for a good time, Clutch has been known to perform his hilarious hijinks everywhere, from his favorite balcony at the Toyota Center, to his yearly birthday party, to the annual NBA All Star Game. He loves meeting people and never misses an opportunity to entertain. Hanging out next to his very own statue in the Memorial Hermann Sky Court at the Toyota Center and signing copies of his book pre-game are certainly some of his favorite pastimes. In addition to performing live, Clutch also enjoys writing his regular column, Clutch Speaks, which is entering its fourth year as a staple on rockets.com. As of February, 2006, Clutch’s site boasts upwards of 30,000 visitors per month.
At the annual NBA mascot conference (Yes, these fur balls actually have a conference) Clutch was voted by the rest of his fellow mascots to be the inaugural “NBA Mascot of the Year” in September of 2005. 2005 was the 9th year of the conference, but was the first year this award was voted on and presented. Also in 2005, the Houston Chronicle’s Ultimate Houston issue September 2005 named Clutch the city’s best mascot. This ostentatious Houston icon also brought home a first place title in the 2005 NBA “Crazy For The Finals Competition” when he road the Downtown Aquarium’s Diving Bell Ferris Wheel for 24 consecutive hours. A second place title was earned in June, 2006 when Clutch faced off against Haley, mascot for the Houston Comets, in the Toyota Center 100 which was a 100 lap Go-Kart race around the Toyota Center. In April of 2004 during a Rockets playoff drive Clutch spent 112 consecutive hours on a Toyota Center Balcony after vowing not to come down until the Rockets clinched a playoff spot. The dare devil came down from his camp site after the Rockets clinched that playoff spot at home on Friday, April 9th, 2004. In December of 2003, Clutch was recognized for his creativity, hard work, and dedication by being named best mascot in all of sports by gameops.com, a leading sports entertainment and game operations web site. Clutch believes he won the award thanks to the support of his loyal fans (not because he voted for himself day and night for a year).
A proud innovator, Clutch introduced “AIR” or inflatable mascots to professional sports in 1997 with “AIR” Clutch. Other Clutch creations that have been widely popularized and used throughout sports include mascot bowling, a game in which the mascot serves as ball and is shot down the court at 5 foot tall pins by a giant sling shot operated by 3 people, and mascot stilt boxing, self explanatory. He enjoys training and mentoring mascots at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels at both the summer camps he directs and private coaching sessions around the year. As a founding executive board member of the Mascot Hall of Fame, which can be visited at mascothalloffame.com, Clutch is excited to be an integral part of an institution that recognizes and celebrates excellence in the mascot profession. In August 2006, Clutch’s fellow Mascot Hall of Fame executive board members and the 300 person voting membership inducted the character into the Hall at its second annual induction ceremony. He received 3.5 million on-line votes in a month long poll conducted by the Hall of Fame. This was Clutch’s first opportunity for induction, as characters must be in existence for a minimum of 10 years before qualifying for eligibility.
With a state of the art new arena, millions of friends across Houston, and an exciting team to support, in his 12th season with the Rockets, Clutch can’t wait to see what the future will bring! Visit Clutch and the Rockets at www.rockets.com. To schedule Clutch at your next special event please call his trainer, Dominic Davila, at (713) 758-7347.