Bevo is the mascot of the athletic programs at the University of Texas at Austin. Bevo is a Texas longhorn steer with burnt orange coloring. The shape of the Longhorn's head and horns gives rise to the school's hand symbol and saying: "Hook 'em Horns". The most recent Bevo was the fourteenth in the line of longhorns that have been the university's mascot before he died on October 16, 2015.
A Longhorn steer was not the original mascot of the University of Texas. The original mascot was actually an American Pit Bull Terrier named "Pig".
The idea to use a live longhorn as the university's mascot is attributed to UT alumnus Stephen Pinckney in 1916. Pinckney gathered $124 from other alumni to purchase a steer in the Texas Panhandle, which they originally named "Bo" and shipped to Austin.
There have been fourteen Bevos to date. Bevo was originally named "Bo" but came to be called Bevo soon after his first appearance at Texas' 1916 Thanksgiving Day game. Bevo II once charged an SMUcheerleader, who had to defend himself with his megaphone. Bevo III escaped from his enclosure and ran amok across campus for 2 days. Bevo IV once attacked a parked car, while Bevo V broke loose and scattered the Baylor band. More recent Bevos have had a more peaceful tenure.
The longest-serving Bevo was Bevo XIII, which like the most recent Bevo was supplied to the university by John T. Baker, owner of the Sunrise Ranch in Liberty Hill, Texas. Baker is past president of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America and serves as a judge in its competitions. Bevo XIII, originally named Sunrise Express, was a champion steer at the age of 3, before becoming the UT mascot. Bevo XIII became the mascot in 1988 and served 16 seasons on the sideline. He presided over 191 UT football games and attended PresidentGeorge W. Bush's inauguration in 2001. During his tenure, he presided over four (1990, 1994, 1995, 1996) conference football championships and a Heisman trophy award for Ricky Williams. Bevo XIII was the winningest Bevo in UT history, and was replaced by youth grand champion Sunrise Studly, becoming Bevo XIV, at the September 4, 2004 football game versus the University of North Texas. It was the only time that two Bevos have ever appeared at the same football game. Bevo XIII was returned to Baker's ranch where he lived out the rest of his days in peace. Bevo XIII died on October 9, 2006 due to heart failure.
Bevo made his first public appearance at the halftime of the 1916 Thanksgiving Day football game between Texas and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (later Texas A&M University), a game in which Texas defeated the Aggies 21–7. Following the game, Ben Dyer, editor of the UT campus magazine The Alcalde, referred to the mascot as "BEVO", a play on the word "beeve", the plural form of "beef" commonly used for any steer. Inaccurate lore of Texas A&M having a hand in naming the mascot have long circulated. As that legend has it, on February 12, 1917 around 3:00 a.m. four A&M students broke in the South Austin stockyard and branded the 1915 Texas-Texas A&M score on him, '13 - 0'. When Bevo was recovered and the larceny was discovered, the brand was modified to be "BEVO". While the vandalizing by A&M students is a true story, the derivation of the name "Bevo" from that incident is false, as the school paper shows the name in 1916, prior to that 1917 incident.
Bevo is one of the most recognized college mascots and has even been called "the toughest-looking animal mascot in sports".
Bevo makes appearances at almost all home football games of the University of Texas, as well as many away games. He also typically makes appearances at important pep rallies, such as the ones in the weeks before the games against Texas A&M and the University of Oklahoma. Following commencement ceremonies, he is typically on hand for photographs with graduates and their families.
Since 1945, the care of Bevo during his transportation and appearances has been entrusted to an honorary organization of undergraduate students called the Silver Spurs. Bevo rides in a special burnt orange livestock trailer with his name on the side.
Bevo is a steer, as an intact bull would be too dangerous in a crowded environment like a stadium. In 2002, an alumni group proposed that Bevo be given neuticles to "increase his masculinity".
During football games, he typically stands or sits placidly behind one of the end zones (the south end zone in Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium) and is occasionally greeted by UT players when they score touchdowns. Bred to be docile, he is riled only in the most extreme of circumstances, such as once during a lightning storm during a game against Rice University, in which he broke away from his handlers.