Lost in Buffalo: The search for UB’s missing female mascot
A number of animals walk on two feet around UB every day: students, faculty, staff and geese. But one animal, a blue oxen, stands above them all as a fan favorite: Victor E. Bull.
But the popular blue bigshot once had a sidekick, and Victor’s forgotten blonde sister is still missing more than ten years after she vanished.
Victoria S. Bull, UB’s now-defunct female mascot, roamed the sidelines of UB football games from 2001 to 2007.
Victoria entertained crowds, student orientations, pep rallies and more campus events for nearly a decade. But her unannounced disappearance in 2007 has left some fans puzzled, wondering what happened to the beloved female character.
On August 24, 2001, UB Athletics introduced Victoria, also known as “Vicki,” as its new mascot during its UB football “Rockin' Rally 2001” event at UB Stadium. The event featured Canadian rockers Loverboy, known for their hits “Turn Me Loose” and “Working for the Weekend.”
After a week-long investigation, The Spectrum discovered UB Athletics archives detailing the female bull’s origin in Western New York.
After UB crowned Victor E. Bull as the official university mascot, “his kid sister Victoria” wanted to “be just like her older brother,” according to UB Athletics archives.
“One day [she] stomped into [UB] Athletic Director Bob Arkeilpane's office, slammed her hoof on the table, and demanded the chance to represent UB at sporting events with her brother,” the archives state. “Vicki passed the rigorous training and was recently hired to become UB's first female mascot.”
Despite her energetic entry into UB lore, sports fans did not receive the new mascot well. One user on PennLive.com said Victoria looked like a cross between “Fiona the Ogre and Smurfette.” The Goose’s Roost blog also named Victoria “The Most Insignificant Mascot in Buffalo History.”
Less than 10 years after her arrival to UB, she disappeared into a cloud of mystery.
The Spectrum reached out to a number of UB faculty and staff, all of whom did not know about Victoria’s disappearance or did not respond to requests for comment.
Fans have been curious about Victoria’s whereabouts since her disappearance.
UB Naked Guy, who declined to tell us his identity despite revealing it to us this February, said he and “many others” in the student body “definitely have noticed” Victoria’s disappearance at games.
He cites the cause of Victoria’s disappearance as a kangaroo mascot, which looks like a chocolate ice cream cone with eyes: Zippy.
UB Naked Guy said Zippy, the University of Akron’s official mascot, is a “devious son of a biscuit.”
“The proof is in the pudding #StayWoke #Zippy4Jail #Justice4Victoria,” said UB Naked Guy in a Twitter direct message. “Zippy better watch out, he’s had it too good for too long.”
Ben Tunison, a senior graphic design major, is a member of True Blue and echoes UB Naked Guy’s theory.
“I think Zippy took Victoria from UB, and Victor over the years has been trying to get her back,” Tunison said. “Victor has never been able to accomplish that, and Akron is playing UB Football on Oct. 13. I think students should help Victor get Victoria back from Zippy. If he has something to do with this, and he’s coming to UB, we should get as many people into the stands to go after Zippy for all the information he has on where Victoria is.”
Jared Gavin, a ‘18 UB alum, was Victor E. Bull from 2015 to 2018. Gavin confirmed he never saw Victoria during his time as UB’s lovable blue mammal.
“I would search and search for my lost sister, in every nook and cranny across the university, but she was nowhere to be found,” Gavin said.
“I had heard there might had been a thing going on between Victoria and Zippy. I’ve tried to get a hold of Zippy about it, but he just hasn’t been as responsive as I thought he would be. Of course, he’s a kangaroo and I’m a bull. He speaks ‘roo,’ a very cryptic language, and I speak ‘bull.’”
As more theories circulated, The Spectrum reached out to five different people named Victoria S. Bull around the United States, to get a clearer picture on the mascot’s disappearance.
All Bulls declined to comment.
During Gavin’s entire time as Victor, he said he felt like there was a “piece of the action that wasn’t there” because of Victoria’s absence. He said, in retrospect, Victoria’s presence would have changed the “whole dynamic” of UB Athletics games.
“If she was there, I would hype up one half of the crowd and she could get the other half,” Gavin said. “There would be those sorts of competitive battles going on, the Victors against the Victorias. There would be a whole new level of ‘True Blue-ity’ at the games.”
Tunison said he’s unsure if UB has a big enough program to sustain a mascot on-top of the iconic Victor E. Bull. Given that bulls are scientifically classified as male cattle, and Victoria is a “female bull,” Tunison said UB should be correct when depicting a future female mascot.
“Especially in a time like today, we’re all trying to be politically correct. With ‘Buffalo Bulls,’ the name works with the double B [wordplay,] but then if you have ‘Buffalo Cows’ you get the feminine side while you lose the nice wordplay,” Tunison said.
“So I think overall, it’s a tough situation for Buffalo to look at.”
About the Author
Benjamin Blanchet is a graduate student and student journalist based in Buffalo, New York. Aside from The Spectrum, Blanchet has appeared in Brooklyn’s ARTSY Magazine and New York’s RESPECT. Magazine.