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Inside the Swanky Lifestyles of Real-Animal College Sports Mascots

Personal valets, chauffeur service, spoon-fed meals: these animals enjoy VIP perks.

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Live-animal mascots aren’t that common anymore, having been largely replaced by costumed human mascots in the 1960s and 70s. But a handful of colleges still use the real version to represent their sports brands. And unlike the good old days, these animals are now cared for properly, and even pampered. ESPN recently looked into the lifestyles of these mascots. Here are some of the highlights from what it found:

-Texas Longhorns mascot Bevo XV enjoys life on a quiet ranch-turned-bed-and-breakfast north of Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. A remarkably chill and stoic animal, Bevo is catered to by a group of volunteers known as the Silver Spurs, whose primary job is to give him a good life in relative anonymity; most of the ranch’s other guests don’t even know he’s a resident, much less a famous one.

-Colorado Buffaloes mascot Ralphie V is a 1,200-lb bison who is kept in even more seclusion than Bevo; the ranch where she’s kept remains a secret to outsiders, and is only known to the half-dozen students that look after her, and a few more who help transport Ralphie back and forth to games and rehearsals.

-Aurora and Ace are the Air Force Academy’s official falcon mascots, since falconry is a major part of cadet life. To give you some idea of how spoiled Aurora (an extremely rare female white phase Arctic gyrfalcon) and Ace are, they are each personally spoonfed Japanese rock quail at feeding time. Not too shabby.

-Finally, Georgia Bulldogs mascot Uga X lives in an upscale homestead in Savannah, is chauffeured to games in a private car (or rather, an armored SUV), enjoys preferred parking access, and has a field-level, air-conditioned luxury box. Now that’s living in style.

 

Read full story at ESPN