The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Champ, university’s 20th Bully, dies

Lisa Pritchard

Former mascot, Bully XX, ‘Champ’ is pictured in his glory days. His stern face is representative of his loyalty and love of MSU’s team. 

 On Aug.  20, Mississippi State University lost Champ, the 20th Bully mascot to serve the university. 

Although we, as a university lost a retired mascot, Champ’s owner, Lisa Pritchard, lost one of her best friends. 

When Pritchard first started working at MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1993, her job was to take care of the Bully Mascot. In 2001 when Bully XIX, Tonka, was announced as the new mascot, he immediately went under the care of Pritchard and became part of the family.  

A few years later, in November of 2005, Champ came along and also became a member of the Pritchard family. 

Pritchard said she knew right away that Champ was special, due to his great personality and features. 

She started basic training with Champ early on, teaching him commands such as “sit,” and “stay.” She prepared him early on to be around loud crowds, and surrounded by unfamiliar people and environments.  

“I played music loudly in the car, rang cowbells, went to band practices, football practices and basketball practices all before he became Bully,” Pritchard said. 

Champs debut as Bully, the Mississippi State mascot, was the first home football game of the 2009 season. At that game, Pritchard was able to pass down the harness from Tonka to Champ at the opening ceremony. After, Tonka went into full retirement. 

Pritchard said whenever Champ would hear the cowbell on the harness jingle, he would light up with excitement, like he knew it was time to go. 

“On Saturday mornings while I was getting ready in my maroon attire for home football games, he would start pacing the floor out of excitement because he knew he was going to see people and get lots of attention,” Pritchard said. 

Throughout his reign as Bully XX, Champ went to all football games, both men and woman’s basketball games and baseball games if weather permitted. 

Champ currently holds the title for the most wins during his reign as mascot and even attended five bowl games. 

Aside from University events, Champ also participated in events at local area elementary schools and assisted living facilities. 

After a very successful term as mascot, Champ was able to pass down the harness to his son, Jak, in April 2015. Just as his dad, Tonka, previously.

Pritchard explained that she and Champ did everything together. 

“Wherever I went, he went with me,” Pritchard said. “Aside from grocery store trips.”

Although MSU is sad to hear about the loss of a former mascot, Pritchard lost a part of her family.

“He was a great dog, and he was one of my children,” Pritchard said. “He really loved everyone.” 

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
Champ, university’s 20th Bully, dies