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Five more things — all mascot

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Five more things — all mascot

While the University of Arkansas is on spring break, ArkansasRazorbacks.com is giving viewers a chance to learn more about Arkansas Athletics with a special series of 25 Things About the Arkansas Razorbacks You Might Not Know. For the five days, we’ll have installments of five different noteworthy factoids about Arkansas Athletics.
Day 1
:
Wired Razorbacks ||
Day 2: We’re Top 25 ||
Day 3: Arkansas and the SEC
Day 4: A Mascot Like No Other ||
Day 5: America’s Best Facilities

#16 – The One and Only Lions, Tigers and Bears – but oh my there is only one Razorback in college athletics. Perhaps the most distinct and unique college mascot, the Razorback is considered one of the top sports icons not just in the United States, but world wide. Any Razorback fan who has traveled the globe knows that wearing the distinctive classic hog on a shirt or hat is guaranteed to draw a Woo Pig Sooie in airports or city streets. In Division I sports, there literally is only one Razorback, and on the world stage, we only know of a few other sports franchises that use the name: a semi-pro German football squad, Sydney, Australia’s, pro basketball team and the North Queensland Razorbacks of the New Zealand soccer league.
#17 – Mess With the Hog and You Get the Tusk Tusk II is the current Razorback mascot, a strapping Russian boar. His predecessors in the role of Head Hog have quite a reputation. As a result, the Razorback mascot is often listed in the top two or three most dangerous mascots in all of sports. Former mascot Big Red III escaped from an exhibit near Eureka Springs in the summer of 1977 and ravaged the countryside before being gunned down by an irate farmer. Another live mascot, Ragnar, was a wild hog captured in south Arkansas by Leola farmer Bill Robinson. Before Ragnar’s spree was done, the mighty animal had killed a coyote, a 450-pound domestic pig and seven rattlesnakes. Ragnar died in 1978 of unknown causes.
#18 – Our Mascot Isn’t Plush Sure, Big Red – the official spirit squad mascot – and the Razorback family – Sue E, Pork Chop and Boss Hog – are friendly folks, but the real Razorback isn’t a Styrofoam cartoon character. Only a handful of colleges and universities that maintain a live mascot, Tusk II is the second generation Russian boar which serves as the ambassador for Arkansas Athletics. Cared for by the Stokes family of Russellville, Ark., Tusk travels to home events and special appearances for the Razorbacks. A legacy program is underway to insure future Tusks. Razorback fans who wish to contribute to the support of the live mascot can make donations to the Tusk Fund, care of the Razorback Foundation, Inc.
#19 – The Legend of the Hog Hat It is true; no Razorback fan’s closet is complete without an official Hog Hat. The original style was a hard plastic hat with a long snout, rough razorback ridges across the top and wickedly sharp, pointed curly-cue tail. The modern versions are often sculpted from softer material. Regardless, the Hog Hat is undoubtedly the most recognized piece of fan apparel in college athletics. Just ask ESPN GameDay’s Kirk Herbstreit as he dons the traditional Hog Hat.
#20 – 100 Years of Razorbacks When football coach Hugo Besdek stepped of the train at the Fayetteville station in the late fall of 1909, the proclaimed the Arkansas football team played like a wild bunch of Razorbacks. Alluding to the Razorback, characterized by a ridge back and tenacious, wild fighting ability, Bezdek never forgot this idea and often called his team “a fighting band of Razorbacks.” This new nickname became increasingly popular and the student body voted to change the official University mascot from the Cardinal to the Razorbacks Next year, 2009-10 is the 100th anniversary of the mascot change.


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