The plan seemed simple enough: launch Kenyon “Ken” Bement into the air at just the right moment so the Cougs could reclaim their cougar.
University of Washington fans had stolen it more than a decade earlier. And Bement and his friends on the Yell Squad decided enough was enough. It was time to bring the stuffed cougar mascot back home to Pullman.
They spread the word through the student section of the stands at Husky Stadium during the rainy, muddy Apple Cup on November 12, 1932. And almost everything went according to plan.
“The basic idea is to pick up Ken—he’s the smallest of the cheerleaders—and, as the Huskies parade by at halftime with the stuffed cougar, he’s going to go up … » More …
They got Butch where the cougar needed to be: on the field for football games.
Some forty years after Washington State University ended the tradition of a live cougar mascot and the Butchmen disbanded, alumni share memories of the spirit group.
Al Kirkpatrick “Our job was to get the cougar to the football games and then, after we would score a touchdown or field goal, we would take him around the track,” recalls retired Colfax dentist Al Kirkpatrick (’75 Zool.), a member of the Butchmen for three years.
One time, he and his fellow Butchmen simply couldn’t get the cougar out of his cage and into its trailer. “We were the ones … » More …
From tryouts and training to the big reveal and fortieth anniversary reunion, Butch T. Cougar alumni look back on key moments during their mascot careers.
Tryouts and training
“I didn’t really have to try out other than what I had to do to get on Rally Squad”—which was name all of the mascots of the Pac-10 schools and perform an impression of his favorite cartoon character: Elmer J. Fudd. “And I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, literally and figuratively.”
— Darrell Turner, Butch from 1981 to 1982
“It’s a completely different program now. It’s much more involved than it was … » More …
Butch T. Cougar is a WSU celebrity, in the spotlight at games, rallies, parades, and other events both on campus and off, including appearances at elementary schools and the wedding receptions of die-hard alumni.
Here is that legendary icon throughout all his (or her) costumed years at WSU…
Meet some of the people behind the mask of WSU’s iconic mascot.
Dean N. Grevé
Dean N. Grevé (’81 Comm.) is credited with creating the character’s signature swagger. As the first student dedicated to playing the role, he’s referred to as the Butch godfather—or “furfather”—and beginning of the lineage. “I was the first full-time Butch,” he says. “I always will be. I’m very proud of that.” Dean N. Grevé
Grevé portrayed Butch from 1979 to 1981, his junior and … » More …
When Randall Johnson was a student at Washington State College, he would occasionally stop and visit Butch. This was the 1930s, when Butch was a real cougar and lived in a cage near Martin Stadium.
“He could care less,” wrote Johnson ’38 in a short reminiscence, “but it was a great opportunity for an artist to make a close up study of a great subject.”
Johnson, who was born and raised in Whitman County, came to Washington State College to study fine arts. His teachers included Worth Griffin and Clyfford Still. He paid his way through college producing “window displays, signs, showcards, and illustrations for … » More …
Though they attended Washington State nearly a half century apart, Gary Schneidmiller and Herbert Meeker share an unbreakable bond to a storied tradition.
For the past three decades, Washington State’s mascot, Butch, has been an anonymous student in a costume; however, for students who attended the school between 1927 and 1978, memories of Butch are much different.
“My first memories of our live cougar were when I visited Pullman with my parents. A trip by Butch’s Den was a mandatory stop from the perspective of a little kid,” said Schneidmiller, ‘71 alumnus.
“As a student I remember Butch in his den, the Butchmen who helped … » More …