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Bevo (mascot)

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Bevo I
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Bevo I

Bevo is the name of the mascot of the University of Texas at Austin, a Texas longhorn steer with burnt orange coloring. The current animal is the fourteenth in the line of Longhorns to bear the honor of being the university's mascot.

Contents

History

The idea to use a live longhorn as the university's mascot is attributed to UT alumnus Stephen Pinckney in 1916. Pinckney gathered $124 from other alumni to purchase a steer in the Texas Panhandle, which they originally named "Bo" and which they shipped to Austin.

"Bo" made his first public appearance at the halftime of the 1916 Thanksgiving Day football game between Texas and archrival the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (later Texas A&M University), a game in which Texas defeated the Aggies 22–7. Following the game, Ben Dyer, editor of the UT campus magazine The Alcalde, referred to the mascot as BEVO. It is not known why he chose this name, though various theories have been put forth.

The most well known tale certainly did not actually occur as it is told. It is true that in 1917, four A&M students kidnapped the longhorn and branded him with "13–0", the score of A&M's 1915 win over Texas. However, Texas students did not, in fact, retaliate by changing the steer's brand to Bevo as is sometimes claimed. Instead they fattened him up and served him at a football banquet in 1920. The Aggies were fed the side they had branded and presented with the hide, which still read 13–0.

Another story states that it is possible he had in mind "Bevo", which was a near beer. However, the best evidence is that the beverage did not become popular on campus until a later time, so this does not explain why Dyer would make such a reference.

Perhaps the most plausible story is as reported in the Daily Texan, the student newspaper of UT: "Through the 1900s and 1910s, newspapers ran a series of comic strips drawn by Gus Mager. The strips usually featured monkeys as the main characters, all named for their personality traits. Braggo the Monk constantly made empty boasts, Sherlocko the Monk was a bumbling detective, and so on. The comic strips were popular enough to create a nationwide fad for persons to nickname their friends the same way, with an "o" added to the end. The Marx Brothers were so named by their collegues in Vaudeville: Groucho was moody, Harpo played the harp, and Chico chased girls ("chicks"). Mager's strips ran every Sunday in newspapers throughout Texas, including Austin."

There have been fourteen Bevos to date. The most recently retired Bevo was Bevo XIII, which like the current Bevo was supplied to the University by John T. Baker, owner of the Sunrise Ranch in Liberty Hill, Texas. Baker is past president of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America and serves as a judge in its competions. Bevo XIII presided over 191 UT football games and attended President George W. Bush's inauguration in 2000. Bevo XIII, the winningest Bevo in UT history, was replaced by youth grand champion Sunrise Studly, becoming Bevo XIV, at the September 4th, 2004 football game versus the University of North Texas. He later attended George W. Bush's second inauguration in January 2005. Bevo XIII, originally named Sunrise Express, was returned to Baker's ranch where he was born to live out the rest of his days in peace.

Public appearances

Bevo makes appearances at all home football games of the University of Texas, as well as many away games. He also typically makes appearances at important pep rallies, such as the ones in the weeks before the games against Texas A&M and the University of Oklahoma. Following commencement ceremonies, he is typically on hand for photographs with graduates and their families.

Since 1945, the care of Bevo during his transportation and appearances has been entrusted to an honorary organization of undergraduate students called the Silver Spurs. Bevo rides in a special burnt orange livestock trailer with his name on the side.

During football games, he typically stands or sits placidly behind one of the end zones (the south end zone in Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium) and is occasionally greeted by UT players when they score touchdowns. He is riled only in the most extreme of circumstances, such as once during a lightning storm during a game against Rice University, in which he broke away from his handlers and charged at the opposition team's bench.

The Texas A&M community sponsors an annual 'Bevo Burn' which involves the roasting of an entire calf.

References

Sheila Henderson, The Littlest Longhorn: The Saga of BEVO; ISBN 0-9623171-0 The Littlest Book Company, Austin (1989).

External links

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