Clemson Tall “Tail”
In fall 1974, the Aggies beat the Clemson Tigers 24-0 in the season’s first football game. As the final seconds ticked down, those of us in the fish class of Hellcat 9 were on a mission: We had been “instructed” by one of our seniors to steal the tail of the Clemson Tigers mascot.
As mayhem ensued on the field, we ran to the mascot on the visitor’s side. One classmate ripped off the tail, and we all “hightailed” it out the east side of Kyle Field with the campus cops, the mascot, the Clemson cheerleaders and some of their football players in hot pursuit. As they caught up on our way to the Quad, several of us ran interference as two kept going with the prize, one of them ultimately disappearing into the Quad dorms.
Fearing reprisal from just about everyone, we kept that furry little item stowed away until Final Review at the end of the following semester. There, we proudly marched around the O.R. Simpson Drill Field with the tail tied to the end of our outfit guidon, alongside the Gen. George F. Moore Outstanding Unit Award banner given for being selected the best Corps outfit.
Terry Stanislav ’78 Gary Saathoff ’78
Boerne, Texas Devine, Texas
Mischief and More
Editor’s Note: This account of stealing the Baylor University bear cub in fall 1950 was pieced together through recollections from Dr. Roger “Jake” Landers Jr. ’54, Dr. Ralph Bledsoe ’54 and a written account from the late Gordon Porter ’54.
Growing up in Waco, Texas, Ralph Bledsoe ’54 had lived three blocks away from the Baylor University bears’ den and become familiar with it while playing on the campus grounds as a child and later holding his first job at Baylor. While he didn’t participate in stealing a cub one fateful night shortly before the Texas A&M vs. Baylor game in fall 1950, he described the bear cages to the six or so members of the Fish Band who took up the mischief.
The group took three cars to Waco. One 60–70-pound cub was loaded up in the Ford Coupe of Ernie “Scat” Boehler ’54, and the parade headed toward Aggieland, aided by Bledsoe’s instructions of the best route to quickly escape Waco. By the time they returned to campus, Scat’s car had taken a beating, its interior full of bear mess and its upholstery and headliner shredded.
Later that night, realizing that the feisty cub was more trouble than he was worth, the perpetrators tied him to a pole on the side of the road. Baylor was ultimately notified of its location, and the cub returned safely home. The participants were not so lucky: They were grounded on campus every weekend until Christmas, and the senior Fish Band captain lost his rank and position. To top it off, Baylor badly outscored the Aggies in the football game, and the perpetrators were accused of firing up their team.
In Texas A&M lore, the fish members of the Class of 1967 hold the unofficial record for “mascot borrowing.” There were five Southwest Conference mascots stolen in fall 1963 and one “almost.”
The highlight was the visit by Bevo, who was led around the Quad in the wee hours of the morning. The small group of Silver Spurs who showed up to see if anyone knew the whereabouts of their lost mascot ended up taking a bath in the Fish Pond with the assistance of our fish class.
Peruna, SMU’s Shetland pony, found his way to Aggieland and got a fish haircut on his mane and tail, forcing him to wear a false tail when the Mustangs came to play the Aggies.
Other mascots that visited Aggieland included the Texas Tech mare that reportedly fell in love with another four-legged animal at the veterinary school; a horned frog that unfortunately did not survive the trip and was mailed back in a small maroon coffin; and a six-foot plastic Rice University owl that arrived on campus in the middle of the night strapped to the top of a Volkswagen.
Only the Baylor Bear got away. The convoy of vehicles heading to Waco was met by a convoy of Texas Highway patrolmen as they approached Baylor’s campus. So, the only thing left to do was hold a yell practice on the side of the road before heading back to Aggieland.
Mickey Batsell ’67
In fall 1963, three other sophomores (Don Davis ’66, Jim Foster ’66 and Burt Richards ’66) and I successfully stole Peruna, SMU’s Shetland pony. It all began when Michael Schlegel ’67, a fish in our company, connected us to Dr. T.K. Hardy, a veterinarian in Lewisville who cared for Peruna in his equine practice. The doc agreed to help with the mission.
We hooked on my one-horse trailer and headed to Lewisville, where Dr. Hardy drew us a map of the barn, location of the lights and tack room, and Peruna’s exact stall. As we rolled up to the gate of the Circle K Stable after midnight, we entered the barn’s hall, switched on the lights, retrieved the halter, got Peruna loaded and were out the door in five minutes.
When we arrived back to Dorm 17, we could hardly wait to show our first sergeant our prize. With one of us on each side, we led Peruna up four flights of stairs to Jerry Kieschnick ’64 and took a photo with him on Peruna. It was easy going up those stairs, but it was hell to get Peruna to go down.
We planned to get Peruna under the stands at the stadium and run him out in front of the football team at halftime. We thought the Yell Leaders might help, but instead, they immediately reported us. Early Saturday morning, we each received a hand-delivered letter from the chancellor saying that we would be expelled immediately if we did not deliver Peruna to the proper authorities at the veterinary school. We didn’t want to jeopardize Jim Foster’s chances of attending veterinary school, so we ultimately ended the whole ordeal by turning Peruna in.
Jeff Smith ’66
Bevo Visits Campus
The Aggies stole five Southwest Conference mascots during the fall semester of my senior year in 1963. When the Aggies stole Bevo and brought him to campus, it was one of the best weeks of my student days. It was about 10 days before the game against Texas. While I was not involved in the hijinks, I remember the night that the would-be cowboys came to repossess their mascot with the help of Austin and state police.
As I was studying, I heard someone yell that they were bringing Bevo to the school’s veterinary clinic. I jumped in someone’s car, and we raced to the veterinary school only to find it dark and quiet. Then I remembered Dr. B.J. Cargill’s clinic in Bryan, so we raced over there. Indeed, there was Bevo’s trailer, which still had Loupot stickers all over it. The university had wisely requested a veterinarian fully check out the animal before handing it over to the Silver Spurs, the student group responsible for his care.
After a few minutes, they loaded him into the trailer, and the police escorted them back to Austin. There were hundreds present, and all tried to follow, but the police had that idea covered and blocked us!
Lee Grant Jr. ’64
In the mid-1960s—either 1965 or 1966—my brother and an Aggie buddy decided to kidnap the TCU frog. They got TCU T-shirts and caps and fake IDs from a trusted source. At about 4 a.m., they approached a guard at the building housing the horned frog. They told the guard Aggies were rumored to be on campus to steal the mascot and that they were supposed to move it to a safe place in the gym.
They carried the frog to my brother’s 1955 Buick, drove to our mother’s house and then took it to Aggieland. They kept it in their dorm until Friday afternoon, then drove back to Fort Worth, dropped the frog at TCU’s front entrance and called the school from a pay phone to tell them where to find it!
David Hopkins Jr. ’62