We asked some of the 39 men who portrayed Chief Illiniwek: What was your funniest, most forgettable experience while wearing the beaded buckskin?
Here’s Chief No. 25, Bill Forsyth, president of Northbrook-based Frontier Partners, an investment management and business development company:
“The Ohio State game, Columbus, October 1984. After a narrow but exciting 45-38 win for the Buckeyes, the fans were fueled by both adrenaline and alcohol. The Marching Illini performed with OSU’s marching band after the game, and we entered the field at the precise point where many fans were exiting.
“As I was dressed in the Chief Illiniwek garb awaiting my cue to run onto the field, I found myself being pawed at by the exiting fans, who were trying to grab a feather or any piece of the outfit they could take as a memento. Very quickly, I found myself fighting off the fans and simultaneously trying to maintain both my composure and the integrity of the outfit, neither of which was easy.
"I was fortunate to get out of Columbus unscathed.”