For those that were implying a mascot change for the Texas Longhorns (and believe you me, there weren’t many) that will not be happening any time soon. As Far as University of Texas President Gregory L. Feves knows, Bevo the Longhorn “remains a symbol of the university” even after his rambunctious and seemingly accidental actions of lunging out of his corral amongst a startled bunch of onlookers and photographers in last month’s Sugar Bowl with Texas battling Georgia.
“We take the safety very seriously, but we’re going to continue to have Bevo as our mascot,” Fenves said last week during a visit to the Austin-Statesman.
A seven-figure liability insurance policy maintained by the Silver Spurs Alumni Association covers the Longhorns mascot, and the policies include limits of $1 million in damages per incident, $100,000 in damage to rented premises, $1 million in personal and advertising injury, and $2 million in aggregate coverage for the one-year policy period.
The Silver Spurs Alumni Association selects the steer that serves as Bevo and trains members of the Silver Spurs, a student group, who help care of steer while being taught how to handle it. Bevo turns 4 years old tomorrow and is owned by the Baker family, consisting of Betty and John T. Baker, who operate the Sunrise Ranch in Liberty Hill.
President Feves vocalized his support for Bevo via social media, as he visited the ranch where Bevo lives.
Bevo’s incident, which occurred on New Year’s Day, involved the mascot barreling through two barricades en route to getting to “Uga X”, A 62-pound English Bulldog and Georgia’s mascot. Per viewing of the video, Bevo happened to clip two photographers while forcing others to get out of the way, and with a closer look, forced a woman to the ground as she attempted to flee to safety.
“I believe that Bevo is an incredible animal and a great symbol of our university,” Feves spoke on Bevo. “Seriously, we’re always looking at the protocols for Bevo at public events. I don’t think they need to be revised. There were some peculiarities of the new situation and a very crowded environment. The Silver Spurs will just have to be more cognizant as they handle Bevo.”
Feves continued, “It’s just the general issue of Bevo in large crowds and trying to keep him away from large crowds and at a safe distance. If you’ve seen him at our stadium, in the south end zone, there are very few people around him. You’ve got a fence around him. There’s a large distance between that fence and Bevo. The handlers are there. So it’s just being more cognizant and avoiding being close to crowds.”
Contrary to the actual occurrence before the kickoff of the New Years Day bowl game, Ricky Brennes, the Executive Director of the Silver Spurs Alumni Association, informed UT Athletics in an email after the game that an hourly itinerary prepared for the trip to and from New Orleans “planned for the wellbeing and safety of Bevo “in meticulous detail”. This detailed itinerary also told the New Orleans Police Department how to pamper the Longhorn with when to feed, water and walk him, as well as refrain from having the alumni association drive him to bars to Louisiana.
“I will be coordinating with television and Georgia for Uga to come over and ‘meet’ Bevo,” Brennes wrote in his instructions to the Silver Spurs.
According to UT Athletics, Bevo is not given medication as a sedative to calm him and does not travel by air.
The records obtained by the newspaper showed that university officials have decided not to comment on a letter from PETA urging Fenves “to retire Bevo and pledge not to use live-animal mascots in the future.” Others sent emails telling the UT president to put Bevo out to pasture for the safety of people and the animal alike, which have all been declined to be answered by the school’s president.