Butler's Bulldog Heritage
While many institutions of higher education claim an English Bulldog as their mascot, Butler’s association has become one of the best known. However, that was not always the case. The sections below reveal Butler’s unique mascot history and how THE Butler Bulldog came to be.
Prior to 1919, Butler’s athletic teams were known as the “Christians,” but numerous losses in the 1919 football season caused Butler’s followers to grow weary of the nickname. During the week leading up to Butler’s game with the heated rival Franklin “Baptists,” Butler Collegian editor Alex Cavins and his staff, which included cartoonist George Dickson, decided something “hot” must be conceived for the school’s weekly pep session.
About that time, the mascot of a Butler fraternity – a bulldog named Shimmy (you couldn’t shake him), wandered into the Collegian office. An idea was born. The next school paper came out with a big Page One cartoon showing Shimmy the bulldog, labeled “Butler,” taking a bite out of the pants seat of a figure labeled John the Baptist. The caption was: “Bring on That Platter, Salome!”
Butler lost the game to Franklin, 14-0, but the name “Bulldogs” stuck.
Butler’s Live Mascot History
By default, Shimmy was the first “Butler Bulldog” mascot at Butler in 1919 thanks to his timely appearance in the Butler Collegian office on that fortuitous fall day. He was actually preceded by a few bulldogs, bull terriers and boxers associated with Butler teams as far back as 1906.
Shimmy was also followed in duty by a number of unofficial-official live English Bulldog mascots kept by Butler students, fraternity members and even parents of student-athletes. The list includes the likes of Butler Sam, Butler Mike, and Butler Bill.
Presence of a live “mascot” was a tradition that eventually faded in the 1970s. Then, in 2000, representatives in the University Relations department convinced Butler officials to adopt an English bulldog to serve as official mascot.
Butler’s Live Mascot – Present Day
Local English bulldog breeders, Frank and Jeane King, of Lizton, Ind. came forward and agreed to donate a registered AKC English bulldog puppy to Butler University in 2000 after university officials agreed to acquire an official mascot.
Keili Walker ’91, a Butler alumna and staff member at the time, selected an all-white female from the Kings’ litter and agreed to care for the dog on behalf of the university. The name “Butler Blue” was selected in a university-wide naming contest, and Blue made her debut as Butler’s official mascot at a men’s basketball game in February, 2000 to a standing ovation in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Walker would eventually leave the university’s employment in 2004 which allowed Blue to take an early retirement in the spring of that year after four honorable years of service.
Butler Blue II
The Kings were ready and willing to donate another bulldog mascot to the University, and on March 27, 2004, in a litter of three (two males and one female), Butler Blue II was born. University Advancement staffer Michael Kaltenmark ’02 and his wife, Tiffany, were tabbed to train and care for the mascot
Blue II made his campus debut unceremoniously on May 20, 2004, as a puppy of less than 8 weeks old. He immediately captured the hearts of Butler students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans, and has since gone on to become Butler’s most decorated and beloved bulldog during his tenure.
Blue II has also captured the attention of the nation on numerous occasions thanks to his savvy use of social media and consecutive NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four appearances in 2010 and 2011. In fact, Blue II’s popularity and following after the 2011 Final Four in Houston, Texas, led him to be dubbed “America’s Dog” by the media and general public.
Butler Blue III
With Blue II growing older and becoming senior in the breed, the Kings identified the only male in the litter of five born Dec. 23, 2011, to become Butler Blue III.
Aptly nicknamed “Trip” (short for “Triple,” since he is the third mascot in succession), this red brindled, AKC-registeredEnglish bulldog also resides with the Kaltenmark family and older adopted brother, Blue II.
Trip was made his debut before a sellout crowd in Hinkle Fieldhouse prior to a men’s basketball game on Feb. 18, 2012.
Also of note: Trip is the great-grandson of Ch. Cherokee Legend Rock, one of the nation’s winningest and most decorated English bulldogs of all time. That’s fitting lineage, since Trip is working closely with Blue II to learn the art of being “America’s Dog” on and off the Butler University campus.
Butler Mascot Hink
Over the years, Butler University students-and even staffers on occasion-have served the school in a high-profile and spirited yet anonymous capacity as the costumed bulldog mascot. Originally known as the “Butler Bulldog,” and now “Hink,” University records indicate that the first Bulldog mascot costume appeared at a football game in 1922 and was worn by a female student.
The look of the bulldog costume evolved naturally, and today’s Hink costume is derived from a head and suit designed and manufactured by the Walt Disney Co. more than 20 years ago.
The current Hink costume was acquired in 2008 after the previous version was stolen and vandalized in the summer of that year after nearly a decade of use. The case of the missing mascot costume case garnered much media and public attention which not only assisted in justice being served, but also initiated a contest to name Butler’s costumed Bulldog.
The name “Hink” was chosen in honor of Butler legend and former athletic director, basketball, football, and baseball coach Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle.
To inquire about Hink’s schedule and availability for appearances, please contact Butler University Spirit Coordinator Jamie Troyer at email@example.com or 317-940-9623.