Champ Gets a New Electrified Ride for Lake Monsters Games | 802 Much | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
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Champ Gets a New Electrified Ride for Lake Monsters Games 

click to enlarge Champ and his new ride - COURTESY OF THE VERMONT LAKE MONSTERS"
  • Courtesy Of The Vermont Lake Monsters"
  • Champ and his new ride

Champ, the Vermont Lake Monsters' googly-eyed mascot, has ditched his gas-guzzling game-day transport for a greener machine.

For 25 years, the mythic minor-league baseball cheerleader has tooled around Centennial Field in Burlington between innings with one flipper on the throttle of a four-wheeler while he slapped high-fives with the other.

But those joyrides were leaving a trail of carbon emissions that threatens baseball fans and lake creatures alike. So, during the team's opening-day game on June 17, Champ revved up an electric golf cart for the first time, dawning a new era of eco-conscious sideline antics.

How did the mascot manage to kick his greenhouse-gas habit? A corporate partnership, of course! Burlington Electric Department general manager Darren Springer handed Champ the keys to his new 48-volt E-Z-GO "personal transport vehicle" emblazoned with the department's logo and baseball stitching.

The new ride may not look or sound quite as sporty as the single-seater ATV, but Springer said the four-seat E-Z-GO is certainly up to the job. "It had a good bit of pickup," he said. "It handles really well."

Champ's earlier carbon footprint wasn't exactly enormous. The ATV only left the shed for the Lake Monster's 40 or so home games each summer. "If [Champ] goes a couple miles every game, that's a lot," said Nate Cloutier, the team's executive director of business development.

Regardless, Springer said the golf cart is also intended to be a rolling advertisement for BED's electric vehicle rebate program, which encourages consumers to switch to electric cars. The program has yet to attract big crowds, as a recent Vermont Public Radio analysis found, but with Champ now in the driver's seat, BED is hoping more fans will follow.

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