There is often nothing more representative of school spirit than a mascot. Attending sporting events, ceremonies and graduation, Boko the Bobcat can be seen spreading Texas State spirit around campus.
More than a disguise, Boko is a separate identity from the individual under the suit. He has a history, a birthday, a past and a future.
Texas State had no athletic nickname or mascot until 1919. Oscar Strahan arrived to assume the position of athletic director and immediately began a campaign to adopt a mascot. The aim was to boost school spirit and student participation.
The student council led by C. Spurgeon Smith, biology department head at the time, formed a committee. Smith chose a bobcat as the mascot because of its ability to fight and residency in the area.
Boko’s name, originated from the Late Greek language, is officially Bokoedious, jester of the Greek gods and known as “The Loud One.”
“The mascot is a huge deal to me. Boko is at the forefront of pride and traditions here at Texas State. He is always on high demand,” said Jordan Chavez, coed cheer captain. “Boko is a breath of fresh air. He supplies a great amount of energy and positive attitude to the overall atmosphere at Texas State.”
Boko has an entourage who is kept a secret from students and the community. Exposing the identity of his entourage would ruin his effect and would add to the notion he is not real, said Shaina Mayberry, cheer coach and spirit program coordinator.
Keeping Boko’s identity secret has been a point of contention throughout the decades. There have been times when his identity has been exposed at Texas State. In the end, the team behind the mascot came to the conclusion that secrecy surrounding his identity would be best for the current entourage and Boko’s overall image.
“As Texas State rises in reputation, Boko has become the icon and symbol of our school,” said Chelsea Yeatts, psychology junior. “He is a relatable icon for those outside the university.”
Anyone can be part of Boko’s entourage. Academically, his posse has a 2.5 GPA or higher. According to Mayberry, several of the entourage members are on the dean’s list. The total size of Boko’s crew is still a mystery.
“We look for individuals who can take nothing and make magic,” Mayberry said. “A mascot has to be fun and animated. It takes a creative person to be able to come up with new material.”
To some students, knowing who is underneath the Boko suit is not important. They see the “super cat” as the breathing epitome of what Texas State spirit should be. The individual in the suit embodies the spirit and timeless personality of Boko, Chavez said.
“I am not normally a very spirited person, if ever. When I go to the football games and see Boko in the crowd, I can’t help but to be affected by his energy and playfulness,” Yeatts said.
All in all, Boko is not just a mascot or a suit, but a person. Boko has feelings and emotions. The “super cat” is Texas State’s celebrity. He is active in social media, has friends, does charity projects and even philanthropic work.
“Everyone does get lonely sometimes, and Boko is a person,” Chavez said. “Who knows, Boko goes back and forth with his decision. One minute he might be asking for company,, and the next minute he doesn’t want to share the spotlight. He can be a diva.”