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Davis, California

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Gunrock speaks out on mascot vote

“I just didn’t see it coming”

By ANGIE VELARDE — avelarde@ucdavis.edu


Rejecting the student vote to replace the official mascot of UC Davis has left a bad taste in the mouths of many. But the controversial vote has had the biggest impact on one individual: a mustang named Gunrock. Ahead of the release of his new tell-all memoir about the vote, “Whinnying and Losing,” I sat down with Gunrock to talk about his life, his legacy and his feelings on the cow that might one day replace him. 

“I mean, you give almost a century of your time to a place, and then they try to vote you out. It feels like a slap on the muzzle,” Gunrock said to me, shaking the mane out of his eyes. “I mean, have you seen me out there? I’m a star.”

Yes, Gunrock is aging — he’s been the mascot at UC Davis since the first half of the twentieth century, and his mannerisms and mid-century slang give him away — but the look in his eye is one of a much younger horse. 

This year’s vote was not the first challenge to his status as mascot. There was another vote in 1993, but this one, he said, feels different. 

“It feels like I’m getting forced into retirement. Young people just don’t respect their elders like they used to, and it’s destroying this country.”

He also responded to those students who say that he does not represent them and instead represents an age of elitism and classism to which they do not feel connected.

“I’d say that the whole thing feels like hooey,” he responded as an assistant oiled his mane. “My trailer has windows, just like anyone’s. I’ve been attacked for spending too much on grooming, but I have an image to maintain. What do they expect?” He popped a sugar cube into his mouth and winked. “Sorry, I normally eat very well, but every once in a while, my dietician allows me to have a little treat.”

At this point in the interview, I asked him to share his final thoughts on the vote to make the cow the official mascot of ASUCD, which was presented as a compromise to the rejection of the UC Davis mascot change.     

“It’ll never happen,” he said.“They’d never vote against me.”

I informed him that they had, in fact, voted to make the cow the official mascot of ASUCD on Sept. 30, and he was quickly shuffled out of the room before I could get his response. We have since reached out to Gunrock’s representatives to see if they have an answer to our question, but were told that he is “unavailable for comment.” 

“Whinnying and Losing” will be officially released on Dec. 1. 


Written by: Angie Velarde — avelarde@ucdavis.edu


Disclaimer: (This article is humor and/or satire, and its content is purely fictional. The story and the names of “sources” are fictionalized.)