The stampede of support from Rocky the Bull’s rabid fans trampled Raider Red’s “Wreck ‘em” crew in the championship finale of the Capital One National Mascot of the Year competition. The newcomer claimed an improbable title in the 12th year of the storied program.

Rocky was projected to finish last in the competition in college football and mascot prognosticator Phil Steele’s Mascot Meter rankings, but the famed University of South Florida mascot lowered his head and plowed through the 15 other Mascot Challenge competitors to finish with a perfect record and forever claim his place in mascot lore. “The entire University of South Florida community is thrilled for Rocky,” President Genshaft said. “All of the mascots competing in this year’s challenge were a wonderful reflection of the pride and passion of their respective universities. Rocky has always been first in our hearts, and now the rest of the nation can see how wonderfully he represents our exuberant and unstoppable USF students and alumni.”  With the win, Rocky received $20,000 from Capital One for his collegiate mascot program, and was honored at the Capital One Bowl game on January 1, 2014 in Orlando, Fla.

“The enthusiasm and dedication USF fans have sustained during this 16-week competition has been inspiring,” said Doug Woolard, University of South Florida Director of Athletics.   “Rocky the Bull is truly loved, and we are thrilled with the fan support he received during this challenge that helped him be crowned the champion.”

This year, Capital One introduced a new element of voting in the competition that took fans to a whole new level of mascot fandom.  The addition of 25 and 100-point social media challenges allowed fans to show their creative side and go all-out for their mascots.  Fans were asked to upload unique content to their social media channels using a special hashtag for their mascot to earn additional points.  The unique weekly challenges – from creating a cheerleader-style cheer to snapping a picture while eating their mascot’s favorite tailgate dish – showcased how far fans would go for their mascot.

“The outpouring support for Rocky the Bull in the Mascot Challenge was astonishing,” said Marc Mentry, Senior Vice President at Capital One. “Rocky’s fans bulled over the entire competition giving this rookie competitor an undefeated record in the challenge!  We’re excited to add his name to the famed Capital One Mascot Challenge Winners list.”

The complete 2013 All-America Capital One Mascot Team included:

Rocky the Bull of The University of South Florida – 2013 Winner

Raider Red of Texas Tech University – 2012 Winner

Baldwin the Eagle of Boston College

Big Jay of The University of Kansas

Big Red of Western Kentucky University – Hall of Fame Inductee

Pee Dee the Pirate of East Carolina University

Rocky the Rocket of The University of Toledo – 2012 Write-In Winner

Bucky Badger of The University of Wisconsin–Madison

Cam the Ram of Colorado State University

HokieBird of Virginia Tech

Mike the Tiger of Louisiana State University

Monte of The University of Montana – 2002 & 2004 Winner

Smokey of The University of Tennessee

Sparty of Michigan State University

The Duck of The University of Oregon

Wilbur T. Wildcat of The University of Arizona

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