Transcript Features Editor

The life of a mascot, often viewed by sports fans as the sideshow at the big show ? be it college sports or high school athletics ? isn't always warm and fuzzy.

One could learn that lesson from the University of Oklahoma's first official mascot, Mex the dog. Although it was said one of his main jobs was to keep stray dogs from roaming the field during games in the days when the field was much more accessible to non-ticketholders, his fame occasionally came with a price.

Sooner legend has it Mex not only was left behind once at a train station in Arkansas City Kan., "to attack the Drake Bulldogs and avenge the loss" ? which was what one Sooner football fan said about why Mex remained at the station after OU's October 1924 loss to Drake University ? but also was said to have been poisoned by some non-Sooner fans, after which the pooch probably learned to eat only out of his caretakers' hands.

Mex died of old age in April 1928. His life most likely turned out better as a mascot than if he had remained on Mexico's streets, which was where someone found him sometime during the Mexican Revolution unrest.

While Mex was known at that time as OU's preferred pooch, it is reported that in 1980 the university officially adopted the Sooner Schooner ? pulled by matching white horses named Boomer and Sooner, of course ? as the featured attraction on game days when OU scores touchdowns or field goals.

Just like Mex, who received the all-star treatment while living in the Kappa Sigma fraternity house, Boomer and Sooner have it all ? routine brushings, the best horse feed, daily attention and maybe even horse treats, if they're good.

Now, the Sooners' screaming fans have two more ponies to cheer for ? a couple of humans dressed in pony suits showcasing the spirit of the Sooners on their chest.

Those attending the OU-Texas game today will see the new OU mascots, who made their public debut at the Big Red Rally Aug. 26 and their game day debut Sept. 3. Designed after the real ponies who pull the Sooner Schooner, it has been said the costumed-human versions of the horses will appear at all sporting events to fire up the crowd for everything from soccer to basketball.

And just like in other sports ? the NBA's New Orleans Hornets who have set up shop in Oklahoma City for the time being; Norman, Noble and Moore high schools' game-day symbols; and even the Norman Public Library's mascot, Jessica ? where mascots stand for more than drawings on a shirt, OU's mascots have evolved through the years and just add to the lore of Soonerdom.

After all, they might have been different from each other, but make no mistake: They all were Sooners.

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