To spruce Ralphie up before a game, John runs her through a car wash. "At first, she took a dim view of it," he says. "But she figured out it would cool her off." Nobody has ever offered to give her a wax job.
Colorado's buffalo has less to chew over than Bevo XIII, the 1,500-pound longhorn steer who doubles as mascot for Texas. Many of Bevo's ancestors were barbecued or branded. Bevo I was both. In 1916, Bevo's debut year, students planned to brand him with the score (21-7) of their win over Texas A&M. But before they could do it, rustlers from Texas A&M seared him with the score of the 1915 game, which they had won 13-0. But Texas revisionists soon altered the 13-0 to read BEVO. Four years later, more than 100 Texas athletes consumed barbecued Bevo with beans at a banquet.
"Ralphie's a lot tougher than Bevo," says John. Any thought of crossing Ralphie's muscle with Bevo's gristle? "Not much," says John. "Bevo ain't got the equipment."
"That's right," says Shaaron. "He's been neutered."
Too bad. Ralphie and Bevo might have produced a low-cholesterol beefalo mascot for some college like Sacred Heart.
OH, YOU KID
Lovers of moose and flying squirrels remember the Rocky and Bullwinkle adventure in which the nefarious Boris Badenov disguised himself as an ooglebird in order to snatch one. No one has ever tried anything quite so devious with the U.S. Naval Academy's goat. Whether it's been considered is another matter.
Billy, as he has been known for most of the last 92 seasons, has suffered more career interceptions than Roger Staubach. Army has gotten Navy's goat. So has Columbia. And Johns Hopkins. Billy has been abducted by Maryland students in Navy whites and Air Force cadets posing as reporters. Navy's kid has even been 'napped by St. John's of Maryland, a four-year classics college in Annapolis whose interest in intercollegiate sports extends as far as croquet and crew.
The horns of this dilemma point back to El Cid, a goat that was brought off the cruiser USS New York for the 1893 Army-Navy game. (Navy won 6-4.) According to the U.S. Military Academy's propagandists, a Navy goat met its first mule—a huge white ice-wagon number—at the '99 classic. The goat charged. The mule bucked and, according to one observer, "hoisted that astonished goat toward the Navy stands to the delight of the yelling, laughing crowd."
Disinformation, Navy claims. The swabbies insist that after El Cid, they didn't deploy another goat until 1900. The academy's refutation involves a rather appalling footnote to mascot history. Navy's mascot in '99 was a black man in a high plug hat. Strutting before the all-white middies, the new mascot drew mild applause. After Army won, however, he was discharged.