Aubie joins best mascot race
Auburn is once again in the running for national recognition.
Aubie is competing in the 2011 Capital One National Mascot of the Year competition, a 12-week head-to-head brawl against 15 other collegiate mascots.
The top eight competitors with the best record at the end of the season will be challenged to a bracket-style, single-elimination competition to determine the winner.
When asked about his thoughts on participating in this year's challenge, Aubie was ecstatic.
"It's going to be great," said a friend of Aubie. "Another chance to show the nation how awesome my Auburn family is."
Now in its 10th year, the competition allows fans to vote for their favorite mascot based on their performances throughout the season.
Each mascot participating in the competition will be awarded $5,000 to help fund their mascot program, with the ultimate winner receiving a $20,000 scholarship toward their mascot program.
The winner will be deemed Mascot of the Year Jan. 2 during the Capital One Bowl.
Aubie has competed in six of the prior competitions, but never reached the pinnacle of the event.
"I want to win, of course," a friend of Aubie said. "Even though I've won the most (Universal Cheerleaders Association) national titles, I've never won the Capital One Mascot Challenge. I really want to bring it home this year."
This year's competition will feature never-before-told stories of each mascot in online videos, available on the Capital One Bowl website, to help fans determine their pick.
Chris O'Neil, director of the digital and public relations campaign for Capital One, explained the difficult selection process.
"Several factors were considered: how Aubie interacts with the fans, his creativity and passion, his signature move, previous recognition and awards, as well as national recognition," O'Neil said.
Fans are encouraged to vote online at CapitalOneBowl.com or on the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MascotChallenge.
Regular-season voting began Aug. 29 and continues weekly through Nov. 21.
A friend of Aubie said he is looking forward to competing against a few particular mascots this season.
"I would say the Oregon Duck, but I've already beaten him, so Big Blue from Old Dominion," a friend of Aubie said. "He's last year's champ."
O'Neil said a competition of this scale brings national awareness to Auburn's doorstep for the duration of the competition.
"Capital One has been honoring these unsung heroes who work hard to cheer on their schools and generate fan enthusiasm," O'Neil said. "This competition shines light on them and the University as well."
With the start of a new season, Aubie believes being the returning national champions means higher expectations.
"I've got a target on my back, but that's OK because I've got the Auburn family behind me," a friend of Aubie said. "War Eagle!"