West Texas A&M brings the ‘Thunder’, meet Mater and Lighting

Published: Aug. 19, 2021 at 9:37 PM CDT
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CANYON, Texas (KFDA) - The West Texas A&M University are introducing two new Buff mascots who are ready to rumble on campus.

Two new live mascots, officially named “Thunder” will greet students during Buff Branding on August 21, and will be introduced to the larger WT community before the first home football game September 2.

“WT is one of two universities that have live buffalo mascots,” President Walter V. Wendler said. “The tradition of our mascot and the traditions of our campus are important to our students, to our faculty and staff, and to the people who live in the Texas Panhandle.”

The male calves, both about 4 months old, are the responsibility of the WT Herdsmen, under the direction of Ph.D. student Logan Burleson in the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.

The calves were donated by John Hays, who raises bison in Bangs, and from the family of Joe Graham, father of The Texas A&M University System Regent Jay Graham.

The calves, nicknamed “Lightning” and “Mater,” after characters in Pixar’s Route 66-themed film “Cars”.

In addition to Buff Branding, both Thunders will be introduced to the campus at a variety of other events.

It’s all part of a strategy to make sure they are ready for larger crowds at football games.

“This age is a good time for them to be around crowds,” said Rebekah Bachman, assistant dean of the Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences. “They are still small enough to be controlled while they get used to being around people.”

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