AUSTIN, Texas -- It's official. Bevo XIII, the University of Texas steer mascot, is being put out to pasture to make way for a new longhorn.
Pregame and halftime ceremonies at Saturday night's football home-opener against North Texas will usher in a new Bevo, a 2-year-old checking in at about 1,300 pounds.
Officials with the Silver Spurs spirit club that manages the mascot have been considering retiring the 20-year-old Bevo XIII since before last season's Holiday Bowl.
After 16 seasons on the sidelines, they decided he'd had enough.
"He's given us so much," said Colby Muecke, student president of the Silver Spurs. "He's going to live out his days chewing grass and walking the pasture."
Bevo XIII is the longest tenured Bevo. With a 124-67-2 record during his tenure, he has seen more Longhorns victories than any other Bevo.
Muecke said Bevo XIV was donated by the same rancher who owns Bevo XIII. The new mascot stands about 5½ feet at the hind legs. His horn span currently measures 56 inches, a mere whisker compared to Bevo XIII's span of 5 feet, 7 inches from tip to tip.
According to the Silver Spurs, the Longhorn "represents courage, fighting ability, nerve, lust of combat, efficiency in deadly encounters and the holy spirit of 'Never Say Die." The first Bevo was dragged onto the field at the Texas-Texas A&M game in 1916.
Bevo XIII has seen the best and worst of Texas.
He stood behind the end zone through the final three years of coach David McWilliams' struggles, the tumultuous era of John Mackovic and the program's resurrection under Mack Brown.
He watched Texas win three Southwest Conference titles and its only Big 12 title, in 1996. A year later, he bore the shame when UCLA beat the 'Horns 66-3 at Royal Memorial Stadium.
In the 1999 Big 12 title game in San Antonio, Bevo left a lasting memory for many Longhorns fans. After Texas lost to Nebraska 22-6, Bevo's handlers were walking him out of the stadium when nature called. With perfect timing, he left his mark squarely on the Cornhuskers' logo.
"A crowning achievement," said Ricky Brennes, a board member of the Silver Spurs alumni group.
To honor Bevo XIII's service, the Silver Spurs have set up an endowment to benefit the future care of the mascot, the university's Neighborhood Longhorns Program and student scholarships.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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