With Texas A&M having bolted the Big 12 f/k/a Southwest Conference for the SEC and rising to national poll prominence with or without Johnny Football, an old myth has resurfaced concerning the naming of their UT rival’s mascot:
For decades, it’s been one of the best-known myths on the UT campus. In February 1917, on a late night road trip to Austin, a group of Texas Aggie pranksters managed to capture and brand the University’s first longhorn mascot “13-0,” the score of a football game won by Texas A&M in 1915. Embarrassed by the incident, UT students hurriedly altered the brand to read “Bevo” by changing the “13” to a “B,” the “-” to an “E,” and inserting a “V” between the dash and the “0.” It’s been standard newspaper and magazine fodder for years, published in the Texas A&M yearbook (photo at left, from 1964), and Aggie fans have proudly touted the stunt as the reason the steer acquired his name. But was the brand really altered? And is that why he’s called Bevo?
Sorry. Wrong on both counts.
Rather, Bevo was named before the desecration when at halftime of the 1916 game between the University of Texas and Texas A&M…
…two West Texas cowboys dragged a frightened longhorn steer onto the field, where it was formally presented to the UT student body by a group of alumni.
The idea originated with Stephen Pinckney, a 1911 law graduate, who had long wanted to acquire a real longhorn as a live mascot for the University. While employed by the U.S. Attorney General’s office, he’d spent much of 1916 in the western plains of the state to assist with raids on cattle rustlers. A raid near Laredo in late September included a steer whose fur was so orange-tinted that Pinckney knew he’d found his mascot.
With $1 contributions from himself and 124 fellow alumni, Pinckney purchased the animal and arranged for its transport to Austin. Loaded onto a boxcar, the steer arrived in the capital city about a week before the game, underfed and in a foul mood.
“I went to see about the unloading of the beast the day after he arrived in Austin,” wrote Dan Williams, then a UT senior, “and found him amusing small boys … by rushing madly at them when they punched a stick between the horizontal bars of the car.” The steer was transferred to a holding pen and reluctantly posed for a formal portrait. It stood still just long enough for a flash photograph, and then charged the camera. The photographer jumped out of the corral just in time, and both the camera and photograph survived the incident.
On the football field, 1892 alumnus Tom Buffington addressed the student section: “I have been requested to present to the University of Texas a mascot or protecting spirit that now and in future years will bring good luck to the institution and its teaching. Behold him! The Longhorn of Texas, emblematic as he stands of the fighting spirit of progress … As the great longhorn was free to roam the wilderness of Texas, so must the University be free to roam the world of thought, unhampered and unafraid.”
Too wild to remain for the second half, the steer was removed to more permanent quarters at the Seawright stockyard in South Austin. In the meantime, the UT football team ran two punts in for scores and won the game 21–7. University students celebrated with a bonfire on the campus, a nightshirt parade through downtown, and a reception and formal dance at the Capitol attended by UT and A&M visitors.
To spread the news, the December 1916 issue of the Alcalde alumni magazine was rushed to press. Editor Ben Dyer wrote a full account of the weekend, published the speeches given at President Vinson’s inauguration, and described the game and halftime proceedings. Of the longhorn, Dyer reported, “His name is Bevo. Long may he reign!”
The name “Bevo” was a play on the word beeve, which is not only the plural of beef, but long used as slang for a cow or steer destined to become food.The name might be thought of as “Beef-o.” Who dubbed the animal Bevo is unknown, though it was likely Pinckney.
Read the rest of the story here.
Meanwhile, Aggies better enjoy their place in the (Coach Kevin) Sumlin sun while it shines because their is Strong Coach Charlie in Austin that is destined to return the Longhorns to prominence in the next few years. Bevo will again rule the Lone Star State!
Hook ’em Horns!
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson