University of Texas says handlers ‘did their job’ after Bevo’s Sugar Bowl breakout

Cameron Parker

Before the Texas Longhorns ended their season with a statement win over the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night, Bevo XV sent out a statement himself.

With just under an hour until kickoff, Bevo charged through the makeshift corral on the field and into a group of photographers and onlookers who were gathering for a unique photo of Bevo and Uga, the University of Georgia's mascot.

The University of Texas told the Austin American-Statesman it has no plans of beefing up the safety precautions surrounding Bevo after the incident.

“All of the established safety measures for Bevo at home and away football were in place at the Sugar Bowl last night,” John Bianco, senior associate athletic director for communications, said in a statement emailed to the Statesman. “The handlers that are with him at all times are well-educated, trained and did their job.”

Nick Wagner, a photographer for the Statesman taking pictures of the mascot meeting, had his back to Bevo when the mascot broke through the pen.

“He (Bevo) got me in the back,” Wagner told the Statesman. “I don’t know whether it was his horn or his snout, but I think it was his horn. His right horn came around and clocked me in the face along the cheekbone.”

Another onlooker trying to capture the moment, Angela Wang, a photographer for The Daily Texan, was also struck by Bevo during the pregame festivities.

“At the time, it didn’t seem like much, since the action took place behind me,” Wang told the Texan. “It wasn’t until at least an hour later when I saw footage that I knew what happened. I got knocked a bit on the back of the head, but nothing serious. I didn’t feel any pain after a couple minutes. I originally assumed I’d been it by the falling barrier, but after looking at videos, it looks like it was actually a horn that clipped me.”

Bevo XV weighs in at around 1,700 pounds, Betty and John T. Baker, operators of the Sunrise Ranch where the mascot lives, told the Statesman. The Texan reported in October that the mascot’s horns had grown to 58 inches long.

“I do remember immediately after, thinking that I should take photos because it might be memorable. Definitely didn’t think it would be this memorable, though,” Wang said. “Chalk that up to lack of awareness of what happened, a bit of naivety and a little bit of stupidity. Never really thought for once during that moment that it might be dangerous.”

Aside from minor injuries, Bevo caused no other damage during the incident.