The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Small Peruna, big tradition

You incoming freshmen may or may not know this, but the current capital campaign at SMU is titled “Unbridled.” Synonyms? Unrestrained and uncontrolled.

As SMU enters its second century, the school is looking towards the past to see its future. SMU truly desires to foster unbridled thinking in its students and faculty alike. We have our sights set on unbridled advances in research. Best of all, though, we have the original unbridled characteristic of our school: our mascot of 79 years: Peruna.

Peruna, the small but feisty Shetland pony that has led our school and our teams for almost a century, has recently come under fire for being a puny, cutesy, or otherwise diminutive mascot. As a Peruna Handler, I do nothing but beg to differ.

My freshman year, the school came into possession of two former mustangs turned geldings (Google that definition for yourself…don’t think we can print that). Now, at first glance to someone unfamiliar with SMU or Peruna, one would quickly call these new horses bigger and better, but in order to be fair to all parties in this situation, I will lay out the facts and allow you to decide for yourself.

First: tradition. Then Mustang Band director Cy Barcus introduced Peruna I to the student body in 1932. The student body went crazy for the pony and has been the school’s mascot ever since. Liberty and Justice (the geldings) were introduced by a first time donor who has never had anything to do with SMU in 2009 to a less-than-stellar response from the student body.

Second: spirit. Peruna has, amongst other things, killed a rival mascot, knocked UT’s Bevo to the ground, hit on Texas Tech’s horse, and left his mark on the brand new turf field at TCU. Liberty and Justice’s sole spirited act would be…holding the flag for the national anthem. I guess that counts.

Third: biggest player. Peruna has spent the night in every sorority house, and even got his own hotel suite, elevator and chauffer on a trip to the Big Apple. He spends much of his time at his top-secret ranch chasing after mares. Liberty and Justice…well, see: definition of gelding.

Fourth: rankings and awards. To name a few accolades, Peruna was named the 10th Best College Mascot by Americas Best and Top Ten, and the #1 Greatest Renegade Mascot by Bleacher Report. Liberty and Justice…uhm…

Finally: tameness. The broken and tamed geldings have riders, horseshoes, saddles and hilariously/ironically bridles. They even bow to the team when the riders yank on ropes tied to their front hooves! Peruna does what he wants. He even tramples handlers. Peruna bows to no one. Most importantly though, Peruna is unbroken and unbridled.

I trust this completely fair and unbiased review by a Peruna Handler (who is among six current and former Mustangs in his family) serves to educate you new Mustangs. Hopefully now your whole class understands why we “Pony up!” and why Peruna is SMU’s one and only mascot.

Brad Ray is a junior studying mechanical engineering. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].  

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