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Iowa State University's Cy Named Capital One Mascot of the Year

January 1, 2009 at 3:31 PM EST

North Dakota State University's Thundar Finishes Second

MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 1, 2009--After months of fierce competition, Iowa State University's Cy proved to be the 'big bird' of the gridiron, having pulled in the majority of the millions of votes cast to earn the coveted title of Capital One Mascot of the Year. Cy edged out the fierce and feisty Thundar from North Dakota State University in the championship round. The highly anticipated announcement was made on air during halftime of the nationally televised Capital One Bowl. Cy bested 11 deeply talented (and oddly-proportioned) All-American mascots to bring glory (and $10,000) to Iowa State University.

"This was one of the most closely watched and fiercely fought competitions to date, featuring two mascots with varying talents. The fans have spoken, and named Cy as the BBOC - Big Bird on Campus," said Steve Schooff at Capital One. "This contest was designed to recognize the unsung heroes of college football, so we're thrilled to see so many fans get behind their mascots with over 4.5 million votes cast."

Last summer, 12 eye-catching characters were named to the Seventh Annual Capital One All-America Mascot Team, and have since been embroiled in an intense competition to be named Capital One Mascot of the Year. Since September 8th, fans have come out in force casting their votes at

The Contenders

Auburn University - Aubie

Boise State University - Buster Bronco

Brigham Young University - Cosmo Cougar

Iowa State University - Cy

Louisiana State University - Mike the Tiger

University of Maryland - Testudo

North Carolina State University - Mr.Wuf

North Dakota State University - Thundar

UCLA - Joe Bruin

University of South Carolina - Cocky

University of Tennessee - Smokey

United States Air Force Academy - The Bird

"We're proud of all of our All-Americans, who sacrifice their tail feathers, sweat, fur and tears to support their schools," added Schooff.

This year's eclectic crew of birds, mammals and reptiles were chosen from Division IA and IAA athletic programs with college football teams. They made the squad after being ranked on mascot musts such as interaction with fans, originality and pedigree. The panel of judges included mascot guru and historian, Dr. Roy Yarbrough, and representatives from Capital One.

Over the past six years, Capital One has helped thrust the spotlight on these unsung heroes of the gridiron. Team members starred in a national advertising campaign, which this year featured the mascots participating in the Capital One Mascot Challenge - Top Tailgater, a series of unusual (and fictitious) grilling, cooking and tailgating competitions. In addition to the hoopla, each mascot received $5,000 for its school's mascot program. Cy, the Capital One National Mascot of the Year, received an additional $5,000 scholarship to help fund Iowa State University's mascot program.

"Cy joins a prestigious list of winners, which consists of Division 1A and 1AA winners spanning from the Pacific to the Atlantic," added Schooff.

Prior winners included a kangaroo from the Midwest (Univ. of Akron, 2007), a cougar from the Northwest (Washington State's Butch T.Cougar, 2006), a working man (Nebraska's Herbie the Husker, 2005), a grizzly bear (Univ. of Montana's Monte, 2002 and 2004) and a gamecock (Univ. of South Carolina's Cocky, 2003).


We said farewell to six of the mascots as we entered the playoffs. During week one of the playoffs (Nov. 24 - Dec. 1) past champion, Maryland's Testudo (#6) continued his underdog run to the semifinals by upsetting Boise State's Buster Bronco (#3), as South Carolina's Cocky (#5) kept his hopes alive by defeating Air Force's The Bird (#4) in a beak-to-beak fight to the finish. Week two (Dec.1 - Dec.8) featured North Dakota's Thundar (#1) and Iowa State's Cy (#2) against Testudo and Cocky. Thundar continued to showcase his number one seed by stomping Testudo, while Cy continued his flight to the finals by defeating Cocky. The final round (Dec. 8 - 15), featured Thundar and Cy battling for bison vs. bird supremacy, as well as the ultimate title.

About Capital One

Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE:COF) ( is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries collectively had $98.9 billion in deposits and $147.3 billion in managed loans outstanding as of September 30, 2008. Headquartered in McLean, VA, Capital One has 739 locations primarily in New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Louisiana. It is a diversified bank whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One, N.A. and Capital One Bank (USA), N. A., offer a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients.

    CONTACT: Capital One Financial Corporation
             Steve Schooff

    Source: Capital One Financial Corporation