This week on the good ole Mascot Monday we thought we would take a look out west and hit up Athlon Sports’ Pre Season Top 25 Oregon State Beavers and their mascot Benny Beaver. Benny’s been through a couple of changes and we here at the KCCGD can get down with that. But he’s been adding and dropping baggage here and there that makes us wonder just a little bit. From the first appearance to the creepy little addition today, Benny’s been all over the block. One thing for sure is, with them big chompers Benny will continue to lay it down on any wood that’s out there.
Benny was not to be found when Oregon was around pre-1900. First up, we have Jimmie the coyote. Yes, a live coyote. Jimmie was around from 1892-1893. While historians are busy trying to figure when the name ‘Beaver’ first peeped out of mouths around there, a bulldog took the mascot mantle from 1906-1910. Thank you then athletic director James Arbuthnot. So we’ve seen some tasty animal mascots help keep spirits up on the sideline, but we’ve never seen an actual human mascot.
Until now. So for some time between 1893 and 1928, one of the Regents Board member, John Richard Newton Bell, stood out as the main supporter for Oregon State. JRN Bell would march on to the Marys River after the team beat rival Oregon in the Civil War and toss his hat into the river for celebration. Traditions like that honored him with the title of ‘mascot’ for the school. We have seen mascots that were caricatures of human beings but this is the first time we’ve seen an actual human as a mascot. Too bad they didn’t have t-shirt cannons around at that time so JRN Bell could get more lift on his top hat.
Back to Benny. From 1933-1944 there was reference to a Billy Beaver but Benny was the name that stuck, circa 1941. The current Benny Beaver is also known as the Angry Beaver and people switch back and forth on the names. The outfit sports the football team’s uni and fills out with fur. The head is ginormous and until recently had a nasty growl. Nowadays it’s a big ole buck tooth and happy grin, much like the logo Arthur C. Evans dreamed up back in 1951. The same logo is used in Teen Wolf. Someone call up Styles.
Benny is not alone, however. For some time throughout the 80’s and the mid 90’s, Benny was accompanied by a female equivalent name Bernice. We’re not sure what happened to their storied love song, but some point a breakup happened and we’re left with just plain ole Benny. That is until Junior Benny popped up late last November. Before we get too Maury Povich, it is just a tiny bit curious that a kid Benny shows up about 10 years after Bernice left. Coincidence? We don’t know. At least Junior Benny isn’t on crack or anything. We hope.
So that rounds out the wacky tale of Benny Beaver and his somewhat mediocre travels. Before Oregon State stuck with this guy, they had some animals and an actual dude. Yeah Benny trekked around with a dame and they split up, but the happy little offspring is his responsibility now. For the costume, it’s fairly standard and nothing exciting. The football team hopes to be exciting this year, but we probably won’t look for Benny to lead the charge that hard. He’s dealing with his new buck-toothed mouth to feed.