Rox Zee waits at the sideline, knowing her turn will be coming soon. Her trainer, Willie Alderson, walks her to the 20-yard line. She stiffens, here it comes. Rox Zee tenses her body into a perfect pointer stance and her right leg begins to twitch. Alderson releases her and she is there and back again in a matter of seconds. The crowd goes wild. Rox Zee, Zamzow’s Starter Tee Dog has retrieved the tee with ease.
The Zamzows Tee Team began three years ago with the original Zee who has since been retired. Zamzows has since had four Tee Dogs: Zee, Rox Zee, Mini Zee and Big Zee (Drake). Mini Zee was adopted this last season to a loving family and Zee sticks around for promotional purposes only.
Caitlin Mackness, event coordinator for Zamzows, explained why the Tee Team is important for Boise State.
“Boise State’s unique with its blue turf, it ought to be unique with how they retrieve the tee as well,” Mackness said.
Alderson owns Big Zee and Rox Zee who are the current runners for the Zamzow’s Tee Team.
“Willie’s been great with training the dogs,” Mackness said. “I wish my dog was that well behaved.”
Alderson explained why the dogs are so good at their job.
“They are retrievers first,” Alderson said. “I trained them as hunting dogs first and that creates the foundation. They want to retrieve anything so they just have to transfer from retrieving a bird to a tee.”
Mackness highlighted the different personalities of Rox Zee and Big Zee.
Rox Zee is all about getting the job done. She is there to do a specific task and she is ready,” Mackness said. “Big Zee is more into having fun. He’s a little slower and more entertaining sometimes because he will pick it up and drop it then go back for it.”
In addition to the dogs, each home game has a Tee Kid retrieve the tee at least once. The Tee Kid is picked through a contest ran by Zamzows. Kids ages 6-12 can pick up a coloring page at any Zamzows and drop off the finished product to be entered into a drawing. The kids are picked every Monday before the game.
The Tee Kid gets two end zone tickets for family or friends and the child and a parent or guardian gets to stand on the sideline during the game.
Mackness is thrilled to be a part of the program and said seeing the Tee Kid smile each game fills her with joy.
“It’s really exciting for them,” Mackness said. “And it’s really very exciting for me.”
There will be opportunities to take photos with the Zee Dogs the next two home game.