Live cougars to ride in parade
Homecoming festivities before the football game against SMU on Saturday will include the participation of two live cougars in the annual parade.
The cougars are from the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, and after the parade will be stationed outside Gate 11 where fans can take pictures with them.
‘The names of the cougars are KC and Nala, but we will quietly tell people that it really is Shasta and Sasha,’ Assistant Director of Campus Activities Bruce Twenhafel said.
This is the first time live cougars have served as mascots since Shasta V’s death in 1989.
Shasta’s history dates back to 1947, when a plane landed at a small airport on South Main carrying the beloved and then-unnamed female mascot.
Shortly after, a student contest was held to name her, which Joe Randol won. The inspiration for the name Shasta came to him when he said, ‘Shasta have a cage, Shasta have a keeper, Shasta have a winning ball club, and Shasta have the best.’
When Shasta lost a toe in a cage door accident on the way to a University of Texas game, UT students mocked UH by imitating the cougar’s injury, but UH persevered and saw the hand gesture-today known as the Cougar Paw-as a symbol of pride.
The Homecoming parade, which starts at 3 p.m. Saturday, will feature student-decorated golf carts and floats, and bands will play starting near the intersection of Cullen Boulevard and Wheeler Street. The parade will head east on Cullen past Robertson Stadium before heading left onto Holman Street.
Associate Athletic Director DeJuena Chizer said the department is ready for the game and excited about the parade.
‘There are seven sports that are able to participate in the procession by bringing their own decorations to highlight and promote their sports individually,’ Chizer said. ‘They can enlighten people about their own games and events.’
The game will be televised on the CBS College Sports channel and broadcasted on KBME 790. About 5,500 tickets were available for students beginning Monday.
Randall said the Athletic Department will have Olympian Carl Lewis act as honorary captain for Homecoming.
‘We do expect a large and exciting crowd for Homecoming, but we do not anticipate having to turn any students away.’ Assistant Athletic Director Mike Rea said. ” Students should still enter the stadium as early as possible to find the best seat, since the student section is general admission.’
Students do not need to get a wristband for this game. The same procedures will apply as they have in other games.
‘All students need to show is their student ID,’ Associate Athletic Director Chris Burkhalter said.