Smokey added to capital One All America mascot team

University of Tennessee mascot “Smokey” received one of the highest honors in his field when he was named Wednesday by Capital One Financial Corporation to its ninth annual Capital One All-America Mascot Team. This is Smokey’s sixth time to be selected for such an honor.

This year’s team represents the breadth of college football teams and their fans -- ranging from the glitz of UCLA’s Joe Bruin and the history of Ohio State’s Brutus Buckeye to the mononymous mascots Smokey and Duck (Oregon), who go head to head Saturday on ESPN2.

“It’s a great honor to be named to the All-America Mascot Team,” said Joy Postell-Gee, Mascot Director at UT. “Smokey looks forward to representing his school with honor and bringing home the scholarship funds on Jan. 1.

“This week is an especially big match-up since the Ducks are coming to Neyland Stadium, so we not only have a gridiron bash, but an ‘off the field’ showdown as well between Smokey and the Duck, so get to voting!”

Members of the 2010 Capital One All-America Mascot Team are:

Joe Bruin of UCLA Bearcat of Cincinnati

Joe Vandal of Idaho Mike the Tiger of LSU

Testudo of Maryland Sebastian the Ibis of Miami (Florida)

Goldy Gopher of Minnesota Monte of Montana

Brutus Buckeye of Ohio State Big Blue of Old Dominion

Duck of Oregon Smokey of Tennessee

Paydirt Pete of UTEP The Bird of Air Force

Mr. C of Vanderbilt Big Red of Western Kentucky

With their cartoonish, oversized heads, the All-American mascots will compete throughout the 2010 college football season to claim the coveted title of “Capital One National Mascot of the Year.” Each participating school’s mascot receives $5,000 for its university mascot program, and the Capital One National Mascot of the Year receives an additional $15,000 scholarship to help fund its school’s mascot program. The winner will be announced at halftime of the Capital One Bowl game, airing Jan. 1 on ESPN from Orlando, Fla., (1 p.m.).

Immediately following the announcement, the nation’s largest mascot coalition -- the United Coalition of College Mascots (UnitedMascots.com) -- issued a statement calling for fans to support their mascots, which deserve their day in the sun (with water breaks at regular 15 minute intervals, of course).

“We appreciate Capital One’s longstanding support for our way of life,” Montana mascot Monte, chairman of the United Coalition of College Mascots, said through a mascot interpreter. “We work just as hard as the athletes we represent. And when the games are over, we also head to class and hit the books, despite our challenges fitting into classroom seats.”

The Capital One National Mascot of the Year is determined through fan voting. Each week throughout the college football season fans visit capitalonebowl.com to vote for their favorite All-American Mascot. Voting consists of 12 weekly head-to-furry-head match-ups between the All-Americans, with fans being able to vote daily at capitalonebowl.com for their favorite mascots. The mascots with the best win-loss records face off in online playoffs starting Nov. 22, and the winner will be pronounced Capital One National Mascot of the Year on Jan. 1 during the Capital One Bowl.

“We’re proud to help recognize and celebrate the hard work of these unsung heroes,” said Pam Girardo of Capital One. “And with Cincinnati’s Bearcat returning to defend his title, we expect a spirited effort by all 16 mascots looking to be named the Capital One Mascot of the Year.”

Fans of school mascots that were not included in this year’s Capital One Mascot Challenge can log on to capitalonebowl.com and, after voting on this year’s matchups, nominate their own school’s mascot for a chance to win $1,000 toward their Mascot Program and an opportunity to compete in the 2011 Capital One Mascot Challenge. Each voter can vote an unlimited amount of times for this year’s mascots.

Fans can also follow this year’s Capital One National Mascot of the Year competition at Facebook.com/MascotChallenge or Twitter.com/CapitalOneBowl.

Contact: Pam Girardo, Capital One, (703) 720-2351, pam.girardo@capitalone.com

About Capital One

Capital One Financial Corporation (http://www.capitalone.com/) is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A. and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., had $117.3 billion in deposits and $197.5 billion in total assets outstanding as of June 30, 2010. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients. Capital One, N.A. has approximately 1,000 branch locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. A Fortune 500 company, Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 100 index. Capital One, an NCAA corporate champion, began its affiliation with college sports with the sponsorship of the 2001 Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl (now the Capital One Bowl) and ESPN’s Capital One Bowl Week. In addition, Capital One sponsors the ABC College Football Halftime Report, all 88 NCAA Championships including the Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, and numerous other collegiate athletics programs.


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