Unbelieve-A-Bull! USF Mascot Wins National Competition
While the University of South Florida football team struggled to a 2-10 record this season, another USF competitor came out on top on New Year's Day, as Rocky the Bull beat 15 other mascots from around the country to win the 2013 Capital One Mascot Challenge.
The announcement of Rocky's victory came from Capital One Chairman & CEO Rich Fairbank during halftime of Wednesday's Capital One Bowl.
Rocky went 12-0 in the contest's "regular season," topping such fellow mascots as Wisconsin's Bucky Badger, LSU's Mike the Tiger and Michigan State's Sparty before beating defending champion Texas Tech's Raider Red in the finals.
Rocky was the first mascot in the competition's 12 years to go undefeated in both the regular season and playoffs.
During the 18 week-long season, fans of the 16 competitors voted online in (stuffed) head-to-head contests, while earning their favorite mascot bonus votes by doing such things as posting messages, pictures and videos of support on social media. Over 100 million votes were cast.
Speaking for the silent mascot Wednesday afternoon at the Leroy Selmon Athletics Center, USF President Judy Genshaft thanked current students and alumni for their support.
"In Rocky's words, this was an incredi-bull and unbelieva-bull amount of people that turned out to show how much we care about Rocky," Genshaft said.
Along with the championship, the university received $20 thousand in prize money. That will go to defray some of USF's mascot program's expenses, including travel and maintenance of the suits, some of which cost up to $3,000. Rocky appears at about 350 events on and off campus during the year.
Criteria for selection to the Capitol One Mascot Challenge included interaction with fans, demonstration of originality, an ability to create enthusiasm among fans, and contributing to an exhilarating atmosphere while maintaining a creative and professional appearance.