If you have been to a Long Beach State Men’s Volleyball game this season, you must’ve noticed a girl screaming in a hot dog costume. Yes, a hot dog costume.
That would be Jade Waskom, a redshirt sophomore on the Long Beach State’s beach volleyball team, and the newest athlete to wear the hot dog costume.
Waskom will be making an appearance at Pauley Pavillion at UCLA on May 5 for the Long Beach State men’s volleyball playoffs to support the team as they compete for the fourth national championship in school history.
The hot dog leads the student section in cheers and chants while attempting to distract the opposing players. Even TJ Deflaco, current men’s volleyball Olympian and former Long Beach standout, wore it during his time at the Beach.
Waskom has grown to become a huge part of Beach Athletics and has everyone talking about how much they love the hot dog, but this tradition has been going on for the past seven years.
“I am extremely thankful to be a part of the tradition around the hot dog and I’m happy I could contribute to it,” Waskom said. “Every hot dog is always a little different and I’m thankful I got the opportunity to hold up the tradition.”
Waskom is the third recipient of the hot dog costume. The hot dog can be traced back to 2015 when Ciana Wagner, a former defender on the Long Beach State beach volleyball team, wore the hot dog costume to her practice as a joke. Wagner was then dared by her team to wear it to the men’s volleyball game. The mascot of the hot dog was born.
Wagner started the tradition of the hot dog by becoming the leader of the student section and even doing the worm on the court during timeouts. After Wagner graduated, she passed the costume down to Hailey Harward, a sophomore at the time participating on both indoor and beach volleyball teams at Long Beach State.
“The hot dog must be willing to make a fool of themselves, and a selfless attitude of wanting to bring great energy to the game for the players and fans,” Harward said.
The hot dog appeared at both men’s volleyball national championships in 2018 and 2019.
Waskom took over the role of the hotdog her freshman year after Harward graduated. This was the first season Waskom was on full display since the last two men’s volleyball seasons were restricted due to the coronavirus.
She has been a huge part of Friday nights in the Pyramid, from starting the wave across the Pyramid to interacting with the opposing team’s bench.
Recently, Waskom was rewarded by long-time Long Beach volleyball donor, Gary Little, with a brand new hot dog costume before her beach practice.
“Part of the tradition of the hot dog costume is that it has never been washed,” Waskom said. “The thing has been through a lot.”
Later that night, Little had another surprise for Waskom at the men’s volleyball game where he showed up wearing a mustard costume.
“I just wanted to surprise her. She has a great sense of humor and spirit about her,” Little said.
He told Waskom to give it to someone who can add to the tradition with energy and an outgoing personality. Waskom picked fellow volleyball player Jenna Giambi.
“I love being the mustard. It is really cool having the crowd interact with us and know who we are,” Giambi said.
Waskom’s role as the hot dog has been to energize The Beach while trying to distract the opposing team. This consists of screaming as they toss the ball up to serve and embarrassing the players with their chants.
Fans express her importance in helping the team succeed by “winning” some points for them from her cheers.
“There have been times where I have gotten into it respectively with opposing teams,” Waskom said. “Jokingly, one opposing coach came up to me the second night and said ‘Please be nice, my wife and kids are here.'”
Waskom did attend one men’s basketball game this season but hopes to carry the tradition to more sports.
“It’s always a great time and you are always going to leave your night filled with adrenaline and having seen some amazing volleyball from your peers,” Waskom said.