It was Homecoming Week at Colorado Mesa University. The football team won 63-42 and Rowdy the mascot was overjoyed because he was getting five-highs and hugs from countless Mav fans.
As wonderful as the game was for Rowdy, his night after the game was not fun. Rowdy had to walk 10 miles back to his trailer park home where he discovered he was locked out because he did not pay his rent.
Because of this, he slept inside his 1991 Volvo station wagon. Its battery was dead, so he had to sleep in the freezing weather. His horns barely fit into the tight automobile. His only source warmth were two signs; one saying, “Go,” and the other saying, “Mavs.”
With no other games being played the next day, Rowdy had to beg for money to feed himself, knowing he couldn’t rely on complementary concession stand hot dogs for dinner. Rowdy stood on the corner of 12th Street and North Avenue with a sign that read, “Wil cheer 4 $.”
The barely literate college mascot ironically only has a 5th grade education. He decided to drop out of school in 1988 after he saw that the then named Mesa State College needed a mascot.
Rowdy quickly became a fan favorite and won over the college with his charisma and friendly attitude. The peak of his popularity happened when he was on the box cover of the Nintendo Entertainment System video game, “Mascot All-Stars.”
The video game was based on the sport of wrestling, where Rowdy was pitted against other mascots like Black Hills State’s Sting, the University of Texas’ Bevo, Colorado School of Mines’ Blaster the Burro, Notre Dame’s Leprechaun and the University of Wyoming’s Pistol Pete.
Rowdy was considered the best fighter of the game. In fact, many gamers consider Rowdy to be akin to Mike Tyson in “Punch Out.” Since Rowdy was so overpowered, he was outlawed from use in the annual “Mascot All-Stars” tournament.
During Rowdy’s popularity, however, he led a dark, private life. He married his second wife, Unruly, in the spring of 1994. During this marriage, he had one daughter named Disciplined born on Dec. 6, 1994.
This marriage quickly dissolved because Rowdy spent his nights at sport events and partied with the fans afterwards. Unruly divorced him in 1998.
After this, Rowdy tried to be involved in Disciplined’s life, but his schedule caused him to miss several birthdays and Christmas celebrations.
In 2015, Rowdy tried to reconnect with his daughter, who was attending Colorado State University-Pueblo. His daughter gave him one last chance, as they made plans to have dinner.
However, the afternoon of his dinner with his daughter, Rowdy was arrested for getting in a bar fight with Pueblo’s beloved mascot, Wolfie, and he spent the night in jail. This reporter tried to reach out to Disciplined, but she did not answer.
Now Rowdy lives for Fridays and Saturdays. His life is to be CMU’s mascot and he would not change it for the world.
However, this reporter noticed when two eight-year-old girls told Rowdy they love him, he had to turn away and wipe a tear from his eye. Maybe he was thinking about Disciplined.