Demand for Shocker puppet skyrockets before NCAA tournament

Posted by in TV Reports

The Wichita State basketball team may face pressure while prepping for the NCAA tournament.

Yet, one Shocker fan said she’s also facing pressure leading up to next week.

“We didn’t expect the kind of frantic energy that it produces — that’s what is unbelievable to me,” said Patricia Becker of Schulte. “I mean, this is awesome. I hope they go all the way. I think they have a good shot at it.”

Inside the Shocker alum’s basement is a sea of black and yellow. It’s a workshop where her family, quilting club and she have been making We Wu, a puppet of WuShock.

“We make hand puppets and sell them anyway at craft fairs — not this but other things. And, when people see it, I don’t care if you’re in a grumpy mood or not, they see it and they smile, and that’s what the puppet does,” she said. “But to have this when you have the enthusiasm of the fan and the energy that you see in the stadium, that just amplifies this.”

Becker and her family created We Wu a couple years ago for a gift. After that, her nephew asked to have one made for last year’s NCAA tournament. We Wu made his appearance at the Final Four.

Ever since then, people have been begging to get one.

Now, Becker and her crew have been cranking out little We Wu’s for $30.

“We’ve been pretty inundated, but that’s a good thing and we want everyone to have one that needs one,” she said.

We Wu was modeled after a Frankenstein puppet they’ve made before. It takes about eight hours to create one.

Since getting a licensing approval to make the puppet, they’ve made nearly 200 of them. This week, however, demand has skyrocketed. She expects to make another 100 by the NCAA tournament, though she’d had just as many new orders arrive.

“The fact that each puppet has so much handwork on it, they do take a while to make. So we are really struggling to meet the demand,” she said.

Yet, Patricia expects to meet that demand. Since she can’t make it to the tournament, she figures her little hand-made puppets should.