Capital One Opens The Polls For Big Red In Race For National Mascot Of The Year

McLean, Va. — Big Red from Western Kentucky University has been named to the fifth annual Capital One All-America Mascot Team — the team is made up of 12 lovable, hard-working, furry fanatics deemed the best of the beasts. And the fuzz, fur and tails are flying as Big Red vies for the most coveted title in the land – “Capital One National Mascot of the Year.”

Starting Tuesday, fans can cast their votes on-line at www.capitalonebowl.com for their favorite All-American. The winner will be announced during the Capital One Bowl on January 1.

“It is an honor to have Big Red considered for the All-America Mascot Team, and we are grateful to Capital One for their acknowledgment of Big Red as a leading candidate for National Mascot of the Year,” said WKU Director of Athletic Dr. Wood Selig. “Big Red is certainly known and recognized around the globe, and has become an icon for WKU. Big Red plays well with others, always possess a positive attitude, and really knows how to work a crowded arena or stadium — we think Big Red is an ideal choice for the Capital One All-America Mascot Team.”

Big Red will be competing in a weekly claw-to-paw face-off among this year’s All-Americans: The Bird (Air Force Academy), Aubie (Auburn), Buzz (Georgia Tech), Mr. Wuf (North Carolina State), Otto (Syracuse), Wildcat (Kentucky), Testudo (Maryland), Sooner (Oklahoma), Smokey (Tennessee), Bucky Badger (Wisconsin) and Butch T. Cougar (Washington State).

“We created this contest to celebrate the unsung heroes of college football,” said Steve Schooff at Capital One. “These diehard, dedicated characters have been cheering on their teams relentlessly through thick and thin, and now is their opportunity to shine.”

Fans will determine the winner. On-line voting consists of 11 weekly head-to-head match-ups between the All-Americans. Then the six mascots with the best win/loss records will face-off in on-line playoffs starting in November.

“Mascots bust their tails every game, but are lost in the shadows of the flashy all-star quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and coaches,” said David Raymond, mascot expert and original Phillie Phanatic. “This is a great tribute to them, and fans now have an opportunity to show their support. Bragging rights are on the line.”

This year’s fuzzy crew was chosen from Division I-A and I-AA athletic programs with college football teams. They made the squad after being ranked on mascot “musts” such as interaction with fans, originality and pedigree. The panel of judges included mascot guru and historian, Dr. Roy Yarbrough, and representatives from ESPN and Capital One.

Over the past four years, Capital One has helped thrust the spotlight on these unsung champions of the gridiron. Big Red will be starring in a national advertising campaign, which this year features the mascots participating in ‘Fur Factor’, a series of gravity defying (and fictitious) competitions. In addition to the bragging rights, Big Red received $5,000 for its school’s mascot program. The Mascot of the Year will receive an additional $5,000 scholarship to help fund its school’s mascot program.

Download Your Favorite Mascot
Get ready for mascot mayhem on your own computer. Capital One has added an additional fan component to this year’s competition. Fans can log on to www.capitalonebowl.com and download their mascot of choice to dance, prance and tumble across their computer desktops to remind them to show their school spirit and vote – vote – vote – for their favorite furry friend.

About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One FSB, offer consumer lending products. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in McLean, Va., is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 500 index. Capital One’s affiliation with college football began with the sponsorship of the 2001 Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl (now the Capital One Bowl) and ESPN’s Bowl Week. In addition, Capital One sponsors the ABC College Football Halftime Report and numerous other college football programs.

— WKU —