Live Animal Mascots at Texas Universities, from Shasta to Bevo

The passing of Shasta VI, the University of Houston’s beloved cougar, has put the live college mascots back in the spotlight.

Mascot deaths sometimes prompt colleges to replace their animals, while others forgo the tradition altogether. Yet some are adapting their practices to address animal rights concerns.

One thing has remained constant: live animal mascots are known for their personalities and sometimes their escapades. As the Cougars bid farewell to Shasta, we look at the big cats, top dogs, and other mascots that make their colleges proud.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: New Harry Styles course to debut at Texas State University in 2023

Clock, Texas A&M University

The Texas A&M Reveille mascot takes the field before the start of the NCAA game against the Northwestern State Demons at Kyle Field on Thursday August 30, 2018 in College Station, Texas.

Godofredo Vasquez

As the ‘First Lady’ of Aggieland, Reveille is believed to date back to 1931. Tradition has it that a group of mascots adopted her after hitting her with a car – but then she became the property of the ‘university. There have been nine iterations of the dog, now a Rough Collie, and she is still the highest-ranking member of the school’s Corps of Cadets.

Did you know that the remains of four Reveilles were exhumed in 1997 to make way for a $30 million stadium expansion, sparking protests? (They were buried with their paws and faces pointed so they could look through Kyle Field’s north tunnel and see the stadium scoreboard.) The dogs’ remains were moved and reburied.

Go global: Rice University launches international campus

Judge Sue “Lady” Sloan, Baylor University

The Baylor University mascots live in a habitat on campus.  Judge

The Baylor University mascots live in a habitat on campus. Judge “Joy” Reynolds died in July 2022, leaving Judge Sue “Lady” Sloan as the school’s only mascot — for now.

Baylor University

Lady is one of more than 50 North American black bears to have graced the Waco campus since 1918. She and her sister Judge “Joy” Reynolds, who died in July, stopped attending games in 2010 but remain at the university. Bill and Eva are nationally accredited. Williams Bear Habitat.

Winning is Sweet: In 1996, the school stopped feeding its Dr. Pepper bears (a Waco staple) at games. “To be honest, soft drinks make the current bear really, really hyper,” Trey Ingram said of then-bear Virginia “Ginny” Crump.

Shasta, University of Houston

Shasta VI had been UH's live mascot for 10 years.  The cougar was euthanized at the Houston Zoo on Thursday after facing progressive spinal disease and declining kidney function.

Shasta VI had been UH’s live mascot for 10 years. The cougar was euthanized at the Houston Zoo on Thursday after facing progressive spinal disease and declining kidney function.

Stephanie Adams/Houston Zoo

The newest cougar – Shasta VI – and her two siblings were brought to the Houston Zoo in 2011 after their mother was illegally killed by a hunter in Washington state, leaving them alone and unable to fend for themselves.

He became the school’s live mascot in 2012, UH’s first since it dropped the practice in 1989. The former cougars, as of 1947, lived in a pen on campus. After Shasta VI’s death, UH officials said it’s too early to predict if there will be a successor, but the school is open to the idea through its zoo partners. of Houston.

A Feisty Cat: Shasta V was the last cougar on campus for years due to liability issues. She was declawed and had her fangs removed, but she occasionally bit her handlers, a UH official told the Chronicle in 1989. And eight students had been injured by the cougar in three or four years, a said interim president George Magner at the time.

“I loved it when they took him for a ride around campus in a little red wagon,” UH’s Pat Allenday said when the tradition was broken. “The next thing you knew was she was running alongside the cart. You couldn’t always predict what Shasta would do.”

Peruna IX, Southern Methodist University

The Southern Methodist University pony is a little beauty who loves this football thing.  Mascot.  Peruna, SMU's famous pony, meets Notre Dame's mascot in the 1951 game.

The Southern Methodist University pony is a little beauty who loves this football thing. Mascot. Peruna, SMU’s famous pony, meets Notre Dame’s mascot in the 1951 game.

Houston Chronicle

The first Peruna, a pony chosen to have a longer lifespan than a quarter horse, appeared at an SMU cheer rally in 1932. For decades he and subsequent Perunas raced the field after touchdowns. The university was ordered to stop the tradition in 1996 after the NCAA ruled that mascots should not be allowed on the field during play.

The latest Peruna, a miniature Shetland pony, now leads the football team onto the pitch and runs between quarters.

The high life: In Chicago for the 1953 Notre Dame game, Peruna stayed in a “fancy” hotel, had elevator privileges and drank from a sink, according to SMU.

Bevo XV, University of Texas at Austin

Texas mascot Bevo is on the sidelines before the NCAA Sugar Bowl college football game against Georgia in New Orleans on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Texas mascot Bevo is on the sidelines before the NCAA Sugar Bowl college football game against Georgia in New Orleans on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

(AP Photo/Dill Butch)

The first Bevo arrived in 1916. Since then, the steer has survived multiple kidnappings, once been banned from the Alamodome, and earned a look at Uga X ahead of the 2019 Sugar Bowl. (Bevo loaded the dog.) He lives on a ranch in northwest Austin and is transported to games and events by the Silver Spurs student organization.

No longer intended for consumption: The first Bevo made its only appearance in a Thanksgiving game against Texas A&M University. He lived less than four more years and was cooked and served at a banquet attended by UT and A&M students in 1920, according to reports from the Daily Texan.

The Masked Rider’s Horse, Texas Tech University

Brianne Aucutt-Hight portrays the Masked Rider, Texas Tech's mascot, as she leads players onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Rice September 12, 2009 in Lubbock, Texas.  (AP Photo/Texas Tech, Michael Strong Photography)

Brianne Aucutt-Hight portrays the Masked Rider, Texas Tech’s mascot, as she leads players onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Rice September 12, 2009 in Lubbock, Texas. (AP Photo/Texas Tech, Michael Strong Photography)

Texas University of Technology

The Masked Rider is the West Texas School’s official mascot, but a black steed is half the gimmick.

According to the school, the tradition began as a challenge in 1936 but did not become official until 1954. Since then, 61 student riders and 15 horses have led the football team onto the field before matches. The current horse, Buzz, starts his first season this year. (The school is in the middle of a contest to rename it.)

A Fatal Run: ‘Double T’ died during the Red Raiders’ 1994 home football game against the University of New Mexico. After its rider fell, the horse ran away, ran down a ramp, and crashed headfirst into a wall.

Comments are closed.