Truman the Tiger wins national mascot championship

Saturday, April 12, 2014 | 7:14 p.m. CDT; updated 10:13 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 12, 2014
Cora Smith, 6, and her sister Cate Smith, 3, rushed to greet Truman during the Homecoming Parade in downtown Columbia in October. Cora, who attended her first Homecoming Parade when she was 11 days old, said she was most looking forward to seeing Truman and getting candy. The girls' father, Cliff Smith, was an offensive guard for Missouri from 1995 to 1998.

COLUMBIA — Truman the Tiger is a national champion.

MU's mascot placed first in the mascot division Saturday during the 2014 National Cheerleaders Association's national championship in Daytona Beach, Fla., the school announced Saturday.


THE EVOLUTION OF TRUMAN: The Tiger mascot is actually a product of a battle cry that all Missourians rallied around in the mid-1860s. Residents were under siege from outside residents when they united in opposition. With their backs against the wall, the group banded together to fight off the attack with the ferocity of a tiger, hence the Missouri Tigers name that the state’s landmark university would adopt when they began intercollegiate athletics in 1890. (This story is available to Missourian digital members.)

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The anthropomorphic Bengal tiger traveled to Florida along with the school's cheerleading squad and the Golden Girls to take part in the National Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship.

"Everybody loves Truman, and now we know that everybody in the nation loves him, too," said Suzy Thompson, cheerleading coach and mascot coordinator.

Truman had a minute and a half to wow the judges, according to previous Missourian reporting. The tiger's routine was focused on the do's and don'ts of being a mascot.

"It feels awesome (to win a national championship)," Thompson said. "It's a huge accomplishment. We have six guys, and they've been working on this since the fall."


The mascot qualified for the competition via a video submission of Truman's routine. Truman failed to qualify for nationals for the previous four years, according to previous Missourian reporting. But MU's mascot has been chosen as the best mascot in the nation several times, according to previous Missourian reporting, and the last time it received the award was in 2004.

MU adopted the Missouri Tiger moniker when it began participating in intercollegiate athletics in 1890, according to previous Missourian reporting, and it has used a Bengal tiger as its mascot for more than 80 years.

Truman the Tiger received its name in 1986 after a schoolwide contest was held to name it. Truman, who incidentally has no gender, is named for the 33rd president of the United States, Missouri native Harry S. Truman.

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