Sports

Photographer says he’ll pay Texas mascot Bevo ‘more respect in the future’ after close encounter

The restless Longhorn startled fans when he broke through a makeshift barrier.
Nick Wagner shows off a bruise on his back after a run-in with Bevo.
By Amanda O'Donnell aodonnell@statesman.com
Posted: Jan. 2, 2019 1:39 pm Updated: Jan. 2, 2019 1:48 pm

You could say Austin American-Statesman photojournalist Nick Wagner took the first hit at the 2019 Sugar Bowl.

“I was focusing on getting a shot of Georgia’s live mascot Uga. I just remember looking back and locking eyes with Bevo before feeling him buck my back,” Wagner said of his very close encounter with Texas’ mascot Tuesday night.

In a clip that has now been widely shared and viewed on multiple platforms, from even more angles, Bevo can be seen charging his way through a makeshift barrier, closely missing Georgia’s bulldog mascot and instead ramming squarely into Wagner’s back.

And he’s got the scuff marks to prove it. Wagner shared a picture of his back to Twitter reassuring his mom that, yes, he is “still alive.”

[gh:blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"][gh:p lang="en" dir="ltr"]Hi mom. I’m still alive.[gh:a href="https://t.co/D8tcwLUlzv"]https://t.co/D8tcwLUlzv[/gh:a][/gh:p]— Nick Wagner (@WagsPhoto)[gh:a href="https://twitter.com/WagsPhoto/status/1080267682107265025?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw"]January 2, 2019[/gh:a][/gh:blockquote][gh:script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"][/gh:script]

“I didn’t realize at first that I got it worse on my back than my face.” Wagner said 1600-pound Bevo managed to “clock him” in the cheek with his horn during the incident. Wagner also told SB Nation that he didn’t quite realize till later how close he’d come to being more seriously injured.

This wasn’t Wagner’s first time working closely with Bevo. He shot Longhorn games throughout their 2018 season and captured a memorable shot of the steer bucking his way onto the field after being startled by nearby pyrotechnics.

“Bevo is a staple item at Texas games and his presence is felt by the players and fans, especially when he gets time on the big screen,” Wagner said. “I love the fact that Texas allows him on the field and his majestic nature. I’ll just keep my head on a better swivel and pay him more respect in the future.”

Of the encounter, one of Bevo’s handlers told ESPN, “We were trying to turn him around to take a picture, and he made a run for it. He was just going to say hi.”

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