Bevo, the longhorn steer mascot of the University of Texas, made his debut on Thanksgiving Day, 1916. During halftime of the annual rivalry game against Texas A&M, a group of Texas supporters led by Stephen Pinckney presented the the steer to the Texas student body. Pickney, who had graduated several years before and had long sought to give his alma mater a live longhorn mascot, found the steer while assisting in some West Texas cattle raids. Pickney gathered up contributions from 124 fellow alumni and shipped the steer by rail to campus just before Thanksgiving. It arrived on gameday.
Texas beat the Aggies, 22-7. But the new mascot didn’t seem too happy about it. Possibly because he was shipped to Austin without any food or water, Bevo was in a foul mood and even charged a photographer trying take his portrait. Things got worse a few months later, when Aggie fans snuck into Austin and branded Bevo with a “13-0” -- the score of a recent A&M win over Texas. Bevo was soon afterward shipped to a ranch outside of Austin. He remained there until 1920, when the University tired of paying 50 cents a day to keep him fed. So the original Bevo ended up being served, as dinner, at that year's football banquet.
The Bevo Myth:
Texas legend states that the name "Bevo" originated from the Aggies’ “13-0” brand. According to this popular story, when Texas undergrads discovered the brand, they tried their best to alter it, turning the “13-0” into the name “Bevo.” It’s a great story, but one that is also completely untrue. In fact, when Bevo was served up to Longhorns in 1920, his hide was given as a gift to the Aggies -- and the hide still read, “13-0,” not “Bevo.”
The Bevo Reality:
The first record of the name "Bevo" is found in a 1916 edition of the Texas alumni magazine Alcalde, in which editor Ben Dyer, recounting the presentation of the steer, wrote: "His name is Bevo. Long may he reign!" Why Dyer chose that name, however, remains unclear. Some have suggested Dyer named the steer after a popular beverage of the time, brewed by Anheuser-Busch, called “Bevo.” Others discount that theory, noting the drink was fairly rare in Texas in 1916. A more recent theory states the name “Bevo” resulted from the popular trend of the time to create nicknames with an “o” at the end. But really, nobody knows.