Origins of Bevo
A sometimes forgotten fact is that the first UT mascot was a Pit
Bull dog named “Pig”. In 1917, some Alums raised money to obtain the perfect mascot for the upcoming Thanksgiving
day game against arch-rivals, Texas A&M. They purchased a fine steer for $124 and shipped it from the Panhandle to the
UT campus in Austin. A fine-looking burnt-orange and white specimen, they named him “Bo,” and so the tradition
of calling UT-Austin teams the Longhorns, the hand-sign which resembles the shape of a Longhorn steer's head and horns, and
the slogan “Hook'em Horns” was born.
The game didn't go so well, however. UT
lost 13-0, and, with the goal of rubbing salt in their opponents' wounds, four Aggies kidnapped Bo and branded him with their
winning score. The legend of how Bevo got his name began with this incident, that supposedly UT refused to allow the Aggies
to break their spirit, and instead took inspiration from the brand, 13 – 0, to come up with the name Bevo. Other explanations
are that the rural plural of beef is beeve, and since both a comic strip of the era and the Marx Brothers derived humor by
adding an 'o' to the end of a name, Bevo was a funny and logical name for their new mascot. There was also a popular Red Bull-like
drink of the era called Bevo. The Aggie-related story is most popular, despite the fact that the name Bevo appeared in print
in the student newspaper prior to the branding incident, in keeping with the time honored Texas tradition of never letting
the facts get in the way of a good story.
Keeping and feeding a five-foot-plus tall,
1300-1800 pound steer, with horns spanning more feet than his height. is an expensive and difficult thing, so the first Bevo
met the ignominious end of being served up at the 1920 Thanksgiving day banquet, with the side with the brand being served
to the Aggies, including the tanned, branded part of the hide.
Subsequent Bevos were selected and bred
to be more docile, though that doesn't mean nothing ever went awry. Even though he's a steer, with testicles removed in order
to make him more manageable, he's still a very, very large and potentially ornery beast. An SMU cheerleader had to defend
himself with his megaphone when Bevo II charged him. Bevo III escaped and ran free and wild on campus for two days. Bevo IV
attacked a parked car, and Bevo V charged the Baylor band. Yet another Bevo spooked and broke loose during a game against
Finally, in 1945, a group was formed called
the Silver Spurs, to manage the breeding and handling of Bevo, who rides to and from games in a comfortable burnt-orange trailer
with his name painted on the side, modified to accommodate his five-plus horn-span. Members of the Silver Spurs consider caring
for Bevo to be a great honor. There have been fourteen Bevos so far, and the tradition seems likely to continue in perpetuity.
By this time Bevo had grown to be one of
the most-recognized mascots in college football and arguably, one of the fiercest. Some alums even proposed fitting Bevo with
'neuticles' to replace his missing testicles, so he would appear more masculine. But, testicles or not, Bevo is in great demand
for public appearances. In addition to spending every game in residence in one of the end zones, where he's frequently greeted
by Longhorns who've scored touchdowns, he's also been to the Rose Bowl, championship games, and was present during George
W. Bush's second inauguration as President.