Jan. 1, 2004
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Cocky, that tail-shaking, wing-flapping rooster from the University of South Carolina, proved he wasn't too "chicken" to take on 11 other college mascots to be named Capital One National Mascot of the Year. The announcement came today during the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla. While this year's BCS standings might be somewhat questionable, there's no disputing who the winner of this competition is. The rest of the country has finally found out what Gamecock fans in Williams-Brice Stadium have known for years - Cocky is one tough bird.
The garnet and black plumed gamecock was introduced in 1980 as a replacement for his father (Big Spur). Since then, Cocky has been to almost every South Carolina athletic event and is a fan favorite among young and old.
"Cocky is a great choice for this year's Capital One National Mascot of the Year. As far as getting the college football crowd in Columbia psyched for a big game, he's right up there with South Carolina head football coach Lou Holtz in our book," said Pam Girardo, Capital One mascot spokesperson.
Cocky's selection was based on a combination of online popular voting (50 percent) and a panel of judges' rankings (50 percent), which were used to select the 12 members of the Capital One All-America Mascot Team. The judges' criteria included fan interaction, demonstration of good sportsmanship and community service.
More than 4.5 million votes were cast by sports fans and mascot lovers at www.capitalonebowl.com between Sept. 4 and Dec. 22, 2003.
The other 11 All Americans who competed for National Mascot of the Year were: Brutus Buckeye (Ohio State); Aubie (Auburn University); Hairy Dawg (University of Georgia); last year's winner Monte (University of Montana); Albert (University of Florida); YoUDee (University of Delaware); Smokey (University of Tennessee); Big Red (Western Kentucky University); Scratch (University of Kentucky); Chip (University of Colorado) and Harry the Husky (University of Washington).
Each mascot received $5,000 for his school's mascot program. Cocky received an additional $5,000 for being named Capital One National Mascot of the Year.
"This year's competition was incredible. But in the end, it was Cocky who 'crowed' supreme," Girardo said.