Fresno State’s new live mascot, Victor E. Bulldog III, enjoyed a warm welcome from University President Dr. Joseph I. Castro and a gathering of supporters Thursday in the Student-Athlete Village on campus.
Victor E. III is filling the paw prints of Victor E. Bulldog II, who passed away in March. The three-month-old English bulldog will carry on the proud live mascot tradition set forth by his predecessors. He will support the University and make his way around the Valley to meet Red Wavers, pose for photos and interact with alumni and friends.
“Having Victor E. Bulldog III join our Fresno State family makes this a very special day for our University and the entire Valley,” Castro said. “As our mascot, he is beloved by the Red Wave and holds a special place in all of our hearts. Today is also a bittersweet day as we think about the sudden loss of Victor E. II, who leaves a big ’collar‘ to fill. We’ll remember him and celebrate his spirit as we welcome the newest Fresno State Bulldog.”
The popular canine, who generated more than 500 followers @VictorEBulldog on Twitter and Instagram in just two days, will attend as many sporting events and University functions as possible as a goodwill ambassador. His first official appearance will be at the Sept. 3 home football opener at Bulldog Stadium.
Victor E. III will be under the care of the Fresno State Alumni Association. He will spend lots of time at the University and a number of staff members will assist in handling Victor E. for his campus, athletic and community appearances.
Born in a litter of seven puppies to parents Itchky and Ruby on March 14, 2015, he currently weighs 13.5 pounds and has a projected adult size of 45-50 pounds.
He was chosen when the University concluded that finding a bulldog puppy was the best way to bring a new mascot to the campus and the Valley.
Members of the staff went on a fact-finding mission to locate the best bulldog breeders on the West Coast. Ten breeders met the initial criteria and were interviewed by the University. After thorough conversations with several breeders, Hollywood Bulldogs was chosen. From that point the breeder shared pictures and information on puppies with the committee and Victor E. Bulldog III was picked to be the new mascot.
The $4,000 purchase price was provided by a donation from John and Lollie Horstmann of Fresno, longtime University friends and generous philanthropists.
History of the Bulldog mascot, condensed from Fresno State’s Centennial book “A Century of Excellence”:
Legend goes that student President Warren Moody and others were greeted by a white bulldog on campus each lunch time during 1921. Soon students were bringing the nameless pooch to football games, and by November the Fresno Morning Republican referred to Fresno State’s Bulldogs. The nickname stuck, but there was no official mascot until 1935.
The first was Touchdown (real name: Lord Casey McFadden), a white purebred.
In the mid-1950s, Moose (Reldae’s Knave of Sherwood) debuted on the sidelines. Tragedy struck in 1958 after an emotionally charged game with rival College of the Pacific and Moose escaped his student keeper’s grasp and ran under the wheels of the visitors’ rooters train.
Upon hearing the news, the Marine Corps donated Moose II (real name: Winnie, for Winston Churchill), who died of a heart ailment. His replacement, Diamond, was the subject of a dog napping hoax in 1962 that was intended to raise school spirit, but drew widespread criticism, instead.
Moose III (Van’s King’s Ransom), lived longest (13 years), but was retired in 1973 after 10 years because he feared the firecracker cannon that celebrated Bulldog scores. Moose III was described as “a shy version of
Moosifour was donated in 1973, but attracted little enthusiasm from student trainers during a time when campus turmoil upstaged student spirit.
Costumed-character mascots came to Fresno State in the 1970s. The first was a gray fur suit with a papier maché bulldog head and a large, round dog tag that read “Scooby.”
Student Gary Johns designed the familiar gray-and-white TimeOut costume with a lighter Fiberglas head. Business student Charles Mugredechian was the first to wear the outfit. Joined by cheer and dance teams, TimeOut became a fixture at games, off-campus charitable and community events and University events. In 2007 a trimmer, more-athletic and child-friendly character debuted but the new look was promptly rejected by fans and was replaced the next year by a character more like the traditional TimeOut.
It was the 1980s before the live bulldog tradition was revived with Halftime, purchased by football Coach Jim Sweeney.
Victor E. Bulldog (real name Norman) was chosen in 2006 from a field of more than 90 dogs to carry on the live mascot tradition. He was a fan favorite and continued his role until succumbing to cancer in 2012 at the age of 8.
Victor E. Bulldog II, or VEBII, a 5-month-old puppy, made his debut at the Sept. 15, 2012, football game and was much beloved. He was not quite 3 years old when he died tragically from a bee sting in March 2015.