With the Longhorns playing their first football game of the season this weekend, I thought I’d dedicate an I Wonder to the story behind THE longhorn on the field – Bevo.
(Programming Note: Saturday's game at 7 p.m. will be aired on the Longhorn Network, not KVUE.)
The first Bevo mascot made his debut in 1916 during a Texas vs. Texas A&M football game in Austin.
It’s that long University of Texas/Texas A&M rivalry that serves as the source of one of the best-known stories on the UT campus as to how Bevo got his name.
An article by Jim Nicar with Texas Exes explains the well-known rumor. Supposedly, during a late night visit to Austin, a group of Texas Aggie pranksters branded the steer with "13-0," the score of a football game won by Texas A&M in 1915.
Legend has it “Bevo” was created when UT students trying to cover-up the embarrassing branding “turned the 13 into a ‘B,’ made the hyphen an ‘E,’ inserted the ‘V’” and used the existing zero as an “O.”
“Bevo” is just one of several names the current mascot, Bevo XIV, goes by; “Grand Champion” is another title. He was named Grand Champion Trophy Steer at the 2010 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. However, before he entered the limelight, this Bevo was known as “Sunrise Studley,” named by his “parents” John T. and Betty Baker, who own Sunrise Ranch, northwest of Austin. When Bevo is not on the football field, he lives at the ranch.
The Bakers told me they have supplied UT with a Bevo since 1988 – Bevo XIII who served as the university’s mascot for 16 years, and now Bevo XIV who has been mascot since 2004.
Betty says both she and John have a great relationship with the steer.
“[It’s] somewhat like a girl and her favorite horse,” Betty told me. “I can love his neck, scratch him all over his body. He loves it.”
Betty says Bevo also loves green grass, though there isn’t much right now due to the drought. What he doesn’t like are fast movements, unfamiliar things like a fly-over with airplanes, or anything behind or above him. In spite of those dislikes which could potentially be frequent at football games, Betty says he has never been drugged to be kept calm.
Because he’s been shown in cattle shows, Betty says Bevo is used to being around noise and crowds, which makes him an excellent mascot. He has a “very sweet personality,” she said.
Click here for more speculation on how “Bevo” came to be.
Do you have a question for I Wonder? Send your question to firstname.lastname@example.org.