In Kentucky, Tennessee crushed Kentucky 50-16, but there was more interest in Smokey, the Tennessee mascot, than in the game. Smokey was wearing an orange blanket over his usual orange and white checkered vest and was looking totally adorable.
A tradition for 61 years, the current Smokey X is one of the few doggie athletic mascots who is not a Bulldog or a Husky.
The tradition started in 1953 when the college invited dogs to compete to be the mascot. They were looking for a hound dog, but not an ordinary hound dog.
The late Rev. W.C. Brooks entered his prize-winning blue tick coon hound, Smokey, in the contest. At half time all of the dogs were introduced and the crowd cheered for their favorite. Smokey went last and knew exactly how to work the crowd by throwing his head back and howling. The crowd went wild and a tradition was born.
Smokey is a breed native to Tennessee used for hunting raccoons. The present Smokey is the tenth in a direct line from the original Smokey. Appropriately named Smokey X, this is his second year as mascot following Smokey IX who served for eight years.
All of the Smokeys have been among the most beloved figures in the state of Tennessee since 1953.
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