The same steer hasn’t been the mascot forever, of course; the current Bevo is the 14th to serve. Beginning in 1945, Bevo has been brought to each UT football game by the Silver Spurs, an honorary spirit and service group consisting of male University of Texas students. Bevo also attends major pep rallies and some events, such as after graduation ceremonies. The first few Bevos were aggressive; some have charged people and broken loose. However, more recent incarnations of Bevo have been bred to be more calm and tend to be docile while they sit or stand at University of Texas football games.
Before Bevo, the University of Texas’ mascot was Pig, a pit bulldog. Stephen Pinckney, a former UT student, came up with the idea of having a longhorn as the mascot. He gathered money from other alumni, bought a steer, named him Bo, and shipped him to Austin.
Bo’s first public appearance was at the annual Thanksgiving football game between the University of Texas and Texas A&M University in 1916. Ben Dyer, who was the editor of UT’s magazine, The Alcalde, called the steer Bevo after the game, though nobody is certain why.
There is one major legend as to how Bevo acquired his name. In 1915, Texas A&M beat UT in a football game, 13 to zero. The next year, the Texas Longhorns beat A&M. After the game, A&M students pulled a prank by branding the score of their 13-0 win in 1915 onto the steer. That part is true.
The false part of the story claims that in order to prevent embarrassment, UT students re-branded the longhorn by changing the numbers into the word BEVO, thus renaming the mascot. There is no evidence of this, and according to the timeframe, this would have happened after Dyer had already called him Bevo. In fact, Bevo became too expensive for the University of Texas to maintain, so he was fattened up, slaughtered and eaten at a 1920 football banquet. According to evidence, the A&M team was served the side of the steer they branded and given the hide, which still had the branding of 13-0 on it. Bevo reappeared again later on and has remained the beloved mascot of UT sports.