Greetings, Lion fans, and in today’s installment of 100 Days, 100 Reasons: Why We Love College Football, we’ll be discussing mascots.
This could easily be divided into two different styles: Live mascots and costumed. Each style has its place and storied lore at every school. At the University of Miami, it’s Sebastian the Ibis. The story goes is that the Ibis is the first bird seen after the passing of a hurricane. In College Station, Reveille began as a mutt that was found injured by members of the Corps of Cadets, brought to campus, and given proper medical care. When the Reveille bugle sounded the next morning, a legend was born.
Today, Reveille is cared for by a dedicated company in the Corps, and the story is, is she barks during class, then class is dismissed. Previous Reveille mascots are entombed just outside Kyle Field with their own scoreboard, so they can see how the Aggies are doing.
In Austin, Bevo, the Longhorn steer, got it’s name after being kidnapped by a group of Aggie cadets, and branded with the score of the previous years game, 13-0. From that incident, Bevo came to be.
There have been various incidents between Texas and Texas A&M of each school kidnapping the other’s mascot, and being returned without being harmed.
In Baton Rouge, Mike The Tiger doesn’t make appearances at Tiger Stadium, but is kept in a special enclosure on campus, and gets top flight care from the LSU Veternary School.
In Houston, at one time, Shasta, a live cougar was a regular visitor to the Astrodome. In Athens, UGA has his own air conditioned doghouse, and on particularly hot days, gets own bag of ice to lay down on and cool off.
In Dallas, Peruna, the Shetland Pony, races around the field after a Mustang score. In Los Angeles, it’s Traveler, the white stallion, with a Trojan warrior riding. In Tallahassee, Chief Osecola and Renegade get the Florida State fans going when a flaming spear is driven into the midfield logo.
Probably two of the most exciting, yet different mascot appearances happen in Boulder, Colorado and Auburn Alabama.
In Boulder, just before the Buffs take the field, Ralphie is led out, and charges down the field with a group of student handlers. The ironic thing? Ralphie is a female.
In Auburn, a bald eagle is released, and flies around the stadium, returning to a handler. In Knoxville, Smokey, the blue tick coonhound patrols the sidelines. Annapolis, it’s Bill the goat. There is another Traveler in the live mascot ranks, a 1,200 pound Army mule at West Point.
Among the costumed mascots, there’s Raider Red in Lubbock. Palo Alto, it’s a fir tree at Stanford. The Leprechaun in South Bend.
And in Commerce, for decades now, it’s been Lucky the Lion.
Whether it’s a person in a costume, or live animal, every mascot has a story and a place. They’re all a part of the fabric of college football.