A Camel love story

As Gaylord, Craig Lloyd literally plucked his Gladys (and his future wife) from a crowd

By Leah Whitt

When we posted a photo on Facebook requesting Campbell love stories in January, we expected to hear stories about sparks flying over chemistry notes and photos of babies in Campbell onesies. What we didn’t expect to hear was a Campbell love story that we thought was a myth: the love story of Gaylord and Gladys.

In the early 1990s, Beanie Babies were everywhere, the Tanner family joined ABC’s TGIF lineup, and soccer reigned supreme on Campbell’s campus. Droves of students and community members would “fill the hill” at what is now the Eakes Athletic Complex to watch the Fighting Camels men’s soccer team during Parents Day and Homecoming in the fall.

And if they didn’t come to see the soccer game, they were there to see Gaylord the Camel entertain the crowd during timeouts and the half-time break.

For the 1990 Homecoming soccer game, Craig Lloyd suited up as Gaylord with three goals in mind for his performance. First, he would ask someone to dance. Second, he would pick a kid from the crowd to play a life-size version of tic-tac-toe with him. As his finale, he would challenge a Campbell student to race him down the hill on a surfboard. What he didn’t know was that the three random participants he chose from the crowd would end up being his future mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and wife.

Angela, the lucky student chosen to race Gaylord down the hill, was a freshman at the time and her family lived close by in Erwin. Craig had asked her mom, who was seated in the bleachers, to dance with him during the first half of the game. At halftime, he picked her brother out of a pack of children playing near the bleachers to play tic-tac-toe with him. Then he raced Angela down the hill – she won.

Today, he credits that Gaylord appearance to be the first fateful steps of falling in love.

After the game, he asked his friends on the cheerleading squad about Angela. They didn’t know much about her, but they knew the dorm where she lived. It turns out that’s all the information that was needed. A few weeks later, Craig and Angela reconnected – this time without a mascot suit – and attended a school dance together on their first date.

It wasn’t long before they realized they were a match made in Buies Creek heaven, and Craig asked Angela to be the Gladys to his Gaylord. Although a bit of an introvert, she agreed to join him as Campbell’s mascots at basketball and soccer games. The anonymity of the mascot costume allowed her to be more outgoing than usual and match Craig’s eccentrics on the field.

They became an instant hit. With Coach Billy Lee and President Wiggins in their corner, Gaylord and Gladys enjoyed the luxury of being able to entertain the Campbell crowd in any way they saw fit. They both had their showstopping moments, too.

At one soccer game, Angela as Gladys pulled out a giant bubble maker. A silence fell across the stadium as she made her way through the crowd. She turned around and noticed all of the bubbles she made had settled in the middle of the soccer field. The game paused until the referees could pop all of the bubbles and clear the field.

Not to be outdone, Craig as Gaylord showed up to a basketball game wearing a referee jersey and a pink ballerina tutu. He earned the team a technical foul for that stunt and was ejected from the game. And he didn’t stop there.

At the 1992 NCAA tournament appearance, he brought a dummy dressed in a Duke Blue Devils shirt. When asked by reporters how Gaylord felt about Duke, he pounded on the dummy with orange boxing gloves on national television. Again, Gaylord and Gladys could get away with anything.

The pair hung up their camel heads in 1993 when Craig graduated, but the fun didn’t stop there.

They continued to date through Angela’s graduation in 1994. After several years of long-distance dating, Craig found himself back in costume again. This time it was a costume of shining armor.

With both of their families vacationing in Myrtle Beach the same week, Craig convinced the whole group that he won tickets to see the newly opened Medieval Times.

The showrunners of the dinner theater featuring a storyline of knights jousting for the love of a princess agreed to Craig’s elaborate scheme, and he casually excused himself from his family’s table halfway through the show.

As the show came to a close, Angela began to worry about Craig until the knight who “won” the joust on the stage picked her out of the crowd to be his princess. Embarrassed and shy, she allowed him to escort her to the stage. The next thing she knew, the knight removed his helmet, and it was Craig. He immediately dropped to one knee and proposed to her to end the show.

Now, the couple resides in Efland with their three daughters. Craig is the executive director of the North Carolina National Guard Association, and Angela the manager and broker at Remax in Hillsborough.

Photo by Lynsey Trembly

Camels in Love

Campbell was once named a “Top school in North Carolina for love” by CollegeStandard.com, as many of you met your current spouse on our campus. In February, we asked our Facebook followers to share their “how we met” stories … these were among our favorites: 

  • Joey Faucette: We were both bitten by the Camel love bug in 1979 by the fountain. The iridescent glow of soap bubbles reflecting in her deep eyes was simply overwhelming.
  • Kimrey Reedy Mays: Met the love of my life in 1990, and we named our third child Campbell because the university made such an impact on our lives.
  • Kimberly Harris Abramo: Michael and I met through mutual friends when he was a freshman and I was a sophomore in 1991. We spent all night talking on the steps of Burkot dorm and had our first kiss near Kivett. That is where he proposed to me five years later!
  • Melissa Oliver: My husband, Scooter, and I both played soccer at Campbell from 2011-2014. That first time I met him, he was kicked out of the girls’ dorm since none of us realized visiting hours hadn’t officially started.
  • Jonathan Bushhouse: My wife and I both had Teaching Fellows together … and had assigned seats next to each other on our first day of college — 8 a.m. Western Civ with Dr. Martin. I proposed in the bell tower and we were married in between our junior and senior years.
  • Alicia Phillips: I still remember what he had for lunch at Marshbanks (three compartments of corn and two pieces of fried chicken), when a mutual friend introduced us. We hit it off instantly, dated for 3.5 years, and have now been married for almost nine years and have four amazing children!
  • Brittany Lee: I met my husband in the fall of 2006 at Baptist Student Union. We went to Sunni Skies that night and never looked back. I pitched on the softball team at Campbell and he proposed to me in January of 2010 in the pitcher’s circle of the softball field. We got married in December of 2010 and had our daughter in November of 2015.