Anyone who’s heard of UT has heard of Bevo, the university mascot. While Bevo has changed over the years, he’s been around as long as any Longhorn can remember — nearly 100 years in total.
In November 1916, Bevo made his debut during the halftime of a UT-Texas A&M football game. UT law graduate Stephen Pinckney wanted to give UT a longhorn to serve as its mascot. In 1916, while taking part in a raid on a cattle rustler near Laredo, he encountered a steer with orange fur. Pinckney arranged for the steer to be transported to Austin about a week before the game. Below is the first picture of him, taken after he arrived.
Bevo made an appearance during halftime as UT alumnus Tom Buffington proclaimed him to be UT’s mascot and good luck charm. During the second half of the game, Bevo was relocated to South Austin while the UT football team won the game 21-7.
Sometime between November and December 1916, Bevo was formally given his name. The name “Bevo” comes from the word “beeve,” the plural of beef. “Beeve” is also a slang term for an animal who has been chosen to be made into food. It is thought that Stephen Pinckney came up with the name.
Unfortunately, when World War I began, Bevo was forgotten as UT focused on the conflict. In the end, Bevo lived up to his name and was served as the main course at the January 1920 football banquet. Its hide, which had been branded in 1917 by a group of Aggies, was presented to A&M students in attendance.
Luckily, the tradition has lived on–many other steers have been chosen to serve as Bevo over the decades. It seems that Bevo will indeed be emblematic of Texas for many years to come.
Special thanks to Jim Nicar for the information taken from his UT history website, jimnicar.com.
Visit the Texas BBA 100 site for more fascinating history of the BBA Program.