DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Whether at Dallas Mavericks games or in your favorite restaurants, it’s likely you have seen the work of a small company nestled in an old building just off the square of Cleburne.

From Chuck E. Cheese characters seen in restaurants nationwide to the ‘Mavs Man’ and the Mavericks Champ, Cowan Costumes, Inc. characters are seen everywhere. And now, fans will see them at Dallas Cowboys games.

“My husband’s adoptive father was a puppeteer,” said company founder and owner Karen Cowan. “And apparently he had a client who needed costumed characters. So the business began from that.”

(credit: CBS 11 News)

(credit: CBS 11 News)

Cowan eventually bought the business and moved it into the building in Cleburne. After 28 years, her work is seen worldwide. M & M’s, Cheetos Cheetah, Mavs and school mascots and more.

“We have characters all over the world,” Cowan said. “We have characters in Dubai and Lebanon. We have some in London and France.”

Fans get to enjoy the characters. What they don’t see is everything that goes into its creation; part art, part engineering.

“There’s a lot more to it than just sewing,” Cowan explained. “There’s vacu-forming plastic, there’s sculpting the heads and mold making. There’s a lot that goes into it.

(credit: Joel Thomas, CBS 11 News reporter)

(credit: Joel Thomas, CBS 11 News reporter)

“It really takes an artistic eye to know if a character is really coming to life. You know, that special spark in the eye.”

There is one character, though, hidden from our camera.

“We are working on a top secret project for a local sports team,” Cowan laughed.

Could it be code-named “Cowboys Rowdy Makeover?”

“Perhaps,” Cowan laughed.

The Dallas Cowboys declined to participate in the story but a revamped Rowdy will make an appearance for the team’s home opener.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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