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When the Hogs Flew: The Story Behind the Arkansas Razorbacks Nickname

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When the Hogs Flew: The Story Behind the Arkansas Razorbacks Nickname
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Arkansas Razorbacks logo.

Fans of the Arkansas Razorbacks haven't always been calling the hogs. The mascot has evolved over the team's long history, starting in 1894.

1. Nickname before Razorbacks

From 1894-1910, the team was known as the Cardinals due to the school color, cardinal red.

2. When the mascot changed

The Cardinals became the Razorbacks more than a century ago in 1910.

3. Why the mascot changed

Following a 16-0 victory over Louisiana State in 1909, legendary Razorbacks coach Hugo Bezdek referred to the team in a speech to students as having played like "a wild band of Razorback hogs."

4. How the Razorback became official

After hearing coach Bezdek's inspirational 1909 speech, University of Arkansas students in 1910 voted to change the school's official mascot from the Cardinal to the Razorback.

5. A celebration of the Razorback mascot's 100th year

To celebrate the 100th year of the mascot, the University of Arkansas athletic department in 2009 staged a reenactment of coach Bezdek's arrival at the train station following the team's victory over LSU in 1909, where he addressed students and first referred to the team as "a wild band of Razorback hogs." A local actor, Daniel Wright, played Bezdek.

6. How Razorbacks Came to Arkansas

Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto is most often credited with bringing the first Razorbacks westward across the Mississippi River in 1541. The legend goes that some of the de Soto hogs escaped into the wild and were then hunted.

7. The hog call

To call the hogs at any Arkansas sporting event one must simply chant, "Woo pig sooie!" According to Arkansasrazorbacks.com, a properly executed hog call is made up of three calls of "Woo pig sooie" and ended with an enthusiastic "RAZORBACKS!" During each call, one must slowly raise his arms from his knees to above his head and wiggle his fingers during the "woo."

8. Current live and costumed mascots

Tusk IV is a live Russian boar and is very similar to the wild hog of Hugo Bezdek's era. Tusk currently serves as the university's live mascot. Big Red is a costumed male mascot that represents all U of A athletics, Sue E. is the female mascot, Pork Chop is the kid version of a Razorback, and Boss Hog is a nine-foot inflatable mascot that came into use in 1998.

9. The "Lady'Back"

Since the inception of women's athletics at the U of A in 1971, the university has used "Lady Razorbacks" for marketing and to differentiate from the male athletics programs. In 1989, the phrase was shortened to "Lady 'Backs" and was given an official logo. Sue E. is the female Razorbacks mascot.

10. The running Razorback

While there were previously many depictions of the Razorback where it was standing and in other positions, the "running Razorback" is long been considered the official Razorback logo.

Amanda Parrish lived in Fayetteville, Arkansas, for four years where she worked for Rick Schaeffer, former Sports Information Director at the University of Arkansas and author of University of Arkansas Football Vault.

Sources:

http://www.arkansasrazorbacks.com

http://libinfo.uark.edu/webdocs/digitalpig/index.html

http://www.arkansasrazorbacks.com

http://admissions.uark.edu/1488.php

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