For the third time since its inauguration in 2002, the Capital One Bowl Mascot Challenge announced that the Hokie Bird will be competing for the top prize as the best mascot in all of college football.
In 2010, the competition opened the challenge to 16 participants however the Hokie Bird had yet to make an appearance. The challenge is set up in a weekly football-style format, where two mascots go head-to-head per week. Currently, the Hokie Bird is leading against Wilbur T. Wildcat from the University of Arizona by 99 percent in its week one matchup. Next week, the Hokie Bird will be squaring off against PeeDee the Pirate from East Carolina University.
The award includes a $20,000 scholarship to the winning school’s mascot fund, donated by Capital One, and $5,000 for being nominated.
“Mascots are the center of school spirit at colleges across the nations,” said Marc Mentry, senior vice president of Advertising and Creative at Capital One in a press release. “With the added layer of fan challenges to this year’s program, we are looking forward to seeing the enthusiasm, support and humor shine through for their favored mascots and schools.”
A new feature of this year’s mascot competition is fan challenges. Replacing the old system of single votes, which would be repeated an unrestricted amount of times per day, fans can now either create a short cheerleader-style chant and upload it via Twitter or Facebook for 25 points, or perform their chant in public (using video or photographic proof) for 100 points.
Last year, Raider Red from Texas Tech University came out on top. As of now, there has only been one mascot that has won multiple challenges: Monte from the University of Montana. In Virginia, the only school to win the challenge was Big Blue from Old Dominion University in 2010.
Votes can be cast for the HokieBird by going to www.capitalonebowl.com.