Jonathan Jones spent his early years in Texarkana but has gone on to give life and personality to some of the most well-loved characters in sports. Currently, he is the community relations director for Indy Eleven Soccer and lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has been the mascot for teams across the nation and has performed internationally. Jonathan is also a photographer. You can find his work at www.jmjstudio.com.
University of Arkansas
Carolina Mudcats (Minor League Baseball)
2003-2009—“Bowser” and “Freddy”
Indiana Pacers/Fever (NBA/WNBA)
Olympic Games in Athens, Greece
2010-2014—“Rowdie” and “Big-E-Foot”
Indianapolis Indians, Indianapolis ICE
(Minor League Baseball/Hockey)
Indy Fuel Hockey and multiple other corporate characters
What is your favorite Texarkana memory?
Attending NAI Christian School and winning the state basketball championship in 1994.
Where was your favorite place to eat in Texarkana?
My mom’s and both of my grandmas’ houses, TLC, Whataburger, and Taco Tico on State Line or New Boston Road.
What was the teen hangout when you lived here?
My family attended Pleasant Grove Baptist Church. I was pretty involved with the youth group. If I was not there, I was involved with school sports.
Where was your favorite place to shop in Texarkana?
Shorty’s Donuts :-D
Were you a Hawk, Leopard, Razorback, or Tiger?
I was an NAI Eagle!
Who is someone from Texarkana who impacted your life?
My best friend from high school, Ace Browning! When I went off to Fayetteville, he was the main nudge for me to audition for the role of “Big Red,” the University of Arkansas mascot. I was able to secure the role for the women’s department, and I received an athletic scholarship. From there it snowballed.
What is your nickname for Texarkana?
T-Town, of course.
Anything we haven’t asked about that you would like to share?
This goofy world I work and live in has allowed me to travel internationally, from Greece for the Olympics to Kosovo, Bosnia, England, Norway, and Iceland for USO Tours. I have also been throughout Canada quite a bit for various gigs. I’m a huge race fan and have been able to get to know a lot of drivers when I would perform as various characters at all kinds of races. I have taken lots of pictures with celebrities, entertained tens of thousands of fans, given an endless number of hugs, and the list can go on and on. But the single coolest moment would have to be the day I met my wife. She was an elementary school teacher, and I was at her school doing one of my shows. While doing my thing for the students, I kept watching her in the crowd, and just had to go for it. As I was leaving, I managed to slip her one of my autograph cards, and I only left my cell number—no name, just a number. Curiosity must have gotten to her, and she called. Two kids and 17 years later, here we are. Let’s see where else this can go!
TXK Roots is Texarkana Magazine’s forum to highlight and honor Texarkana natives who have accomplished big things in the world. These folks may have relocated, but they took the values, education, work ethic and creativity instilled in them by growing up in this unique border city and used these qualities to blaze extraordinary trails. We asked them to share their thoughts about growing up here. No matter how far from Texarkana they may find themselves, we will always consider them our neighbors and we are proud to claim them as forever members of our extended Texarkana community. After all, “everyone is famous in their hometown!”