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Reigning Capital One National Mascot of the Year Issues Challenge to Pirates' Randall Simon

July 16, 2003 at 8:33 AM EDT
Monte from University of Montana Makes a 'Ruckus For Respect'

MISSOULA, Mont., Jul 16, 2003 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Disturbed by last week's sausage mascot fiasco, reigning Capital One National Mascot of the Year -- Monte from the University of Montana -- issued a challenge today to Pittsburgh Pirates' first baseman Randall Simon.

The grizzly bear mascot came out of hibernation after witnessing the mascot bashing incident at Milwaukee Brewers' Miller Park on Wednesday night. During a teleconference, he roared that he was sick and tired of the lack of respect given to mascots and he was putting his paw down.

Monte, through an interpreter, spoke at length about how this challenge was about putting an end to the disrespectful treatment of mascots. He cited many mascot incidents over the last decade-and-a-half, highlighting the Phoenix Suns' Charles Barkley bopping the Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky the Mountain Lion as well as the unjust arrest of Bucky the Badger from the University of Wisconsin in 1996 for all things, crowd surfing.

"This challenge is all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T for mascots around the world," growled Monte. "That's all we're asking for ... just a little bit."

If the challenge is accepted by Simon, Monte and the Major League Baseball player will go head-to-head in a mascot skills contest dubbed "Ruckus For Respect." Simon will be asked to compete in a mascot costume (perhaps even the Klement's Sausage Company costume). The competition will consist of five fun, playful events. Both contestants will be allowed to choose two skill events to their liking. The fifth, and perhaps deciding event, will involve a baseball bat. However, the bat will not be used for bonking anyone over the head. It will serve as the equipment for the traditional "bat spin" contest.

Capital One, mascot supporter and creator of the All-America contest, has agreed to donate $10,000 to the charity of Randall's choice. Last year, the company led the charge for giving mascots the respect they deserve through its inaugural Capital One All-America Mascot Team and National Mascot of the Year contests.

Monte ended his teleconference by saying: "We (mascots) work our fur, feathers, tails and, in last week's case, buns, to the bone in silence and anonymity -- all for the love of the game. It requires incredible athletic ability (like the players on the field) and stamina from special characters. If this baseball player has the guts to step up to the plate and meet me in this challenge, he's going to find out what it's like to walk a mile in my, err, shoes. He owes it to mascots everywhere."

About the Capital One All-America Mascot Contest

Mascots traditionally have been the Rodney Dangerfields of the sports world. The Capital One All-America Mascot contest was established to end this by showing respect for those hardworking, talented mascots. The program pays homage annually to 12 of the top college mascots in the country. In addition, it recognizes the "best of the best" through the Capital One National Mascot of the Year competition. Last year, Monte from the University of Montana was voted top dog even though he is a bear. Capital One will announce the 2003 team at the end of this month. The race for the Capital One National of the Mascot of the Year contest will kick off in September when fans across the country will be able to log on to www.capitalonebowl.com to vote for their favorite mascot. The online vote, combined with a judges' ranking, will determine the winner who will be announced at the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2004.

About Capital One

Capital One Financial Corporation (www.capitalone.com) is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank and Capital One FSB, offer consumer lending products. Capital One, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in McLean, Va., is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 500 index. Capital One's affiliation with college football began with the sponsorship of the 2001 Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl (now the Capital One Bowl) and ESPN's Bowl Week. In addition, Capital One sponsors the ABC College Football Halftime Report and numerous other college football programs.

SOURCE Capital One Financial Corporation

Scott Davila, +1-804-675-8152, Cell: +1-804-833-9697, or sdavila@crtpr.com, for Capital One Financial Corporation