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Saturday, July 23, 2016

'Cy' - and NW Iowa student - named world's top mascot

Monday, January 5, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. - Cy and Iowa State fans have done it again. The Iowa State cardinal mascot who was named the 2007 "Most Dominant Mascot on Earth" was declared the 2008 Capital One National Mascot of the Year Thursday at halftime of the 2009 Capital One Bowl.

Cy triumphed in online voting by fans around the world over fellow finalist Thundar of North Dakota State.

Iowa State student Brent Behrens again donned his Cy suit after receiving a call late this week to fly down to Orlando for the New Year's Day Capital One Bowl game between Michigan State and Georgia. The senior from Carroll majoring in communications studies and speech communication said it was a great afternoon.

"(The bowl officials) told me New Year's Eve night that we had won the contest," Behrens said. "Cy got a great ovation at halftime from the fans. It was a really neat experience. After accepting the award I went to a tent and posed with fans for pictures."

Iowa State also received a $10,000 scholarship fund check from the Capital One Bowl.

Cy won the Mascot of the Year title from a field that included Aubie (Auburn), Buster Bronco (Boise State), Cosmo Cougar (Brigham Young), Mike the Tiger (LSU), Testudo (Maryland), Mr.Wuf (North Carolina State), Thundar (North Dakota State), Joe Bruin (UCLA), Cocky (South Carolina), Smokey (Tennessee), and The Bird (Air Force).

Cy, who made a big hit appearing at the Taste of Storm Lake block parties, was introduced to fans at the 1954 Homecoming football game at ISU. The pep council opted for a character based on the school colors - cardinal and gold. "Cy" was submitted 17 times in a subsequent nationwide name contest and chosen as the cardinal's name.

Since his introduction, he has survived numerous redesigns and refittings, a plucking in 1961 at the hands of University of Missouri students, a car accident en route to the 1972 Liberty Bowl in Tennessee, and a series of kidnappings in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1966, Cy secretly wed Susie Snapper Hawk from the University of Iowa. Naturally, that union was doomed. In 1975, the first woman donned what at the time was a 35-pound Cy costume. She was Betsy Thomas, a 6-foot-plus sophomore from Normal, Ill. Cy's sidekick, the agile - some might say squirrelly - Clone was introduced to Cyclone fans at Hilton Coliseum in January 1989. An irrepressible dancer and a hit with children and students, Clone complemented the more stately Cy. The duo worked in tandem for several years. In 1995, the best of both characters was merged into what is known as Cy today. A specially-chosen mascot squad of four to six students brings the character to life, making appearances on an average of 200 days a year plus all sporting events.

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