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OU's mascot makeover
Acceptance of Boomer and Sooner a slow process

By Blake Jackson Published: April 21, 2008

/> Analyzing mascots is his job.

"Let's discuss the limitations of creating an animated horse,” said Raymond, creator of the Phillie Phanatic and CEO of character-branding company Raymond Entertainment Group. "Well, they've got hooves so they can't sign autographs. Then they've got a really long head and nose. And they snarl.

"Snarling horses scare kids.”

The redemption of the horse-pigs began in 2006 when Gransberg's Sooner was selected to the Capitol One All-America Mascot Team as one of the top 12 mascots in the country.

Gransberg had sent in a highlight video featuring an updated version of his costume.

This one had a longer snout and smaller eyes. The spiky red hair had been replaced by cream-colored locks. The snarl was dialed down.

"I think one of his signature moves was a backflip,” said Capital One Bowl spokesperson Stephen Schooff. "I remember that specifically. (The team) was designed to celebrate the unsung heroes of college football.”

From death threat-garnering horse-pig to unsung hero of college football in two years.

It was a quick transition for Oklahoma's new mascot.

"You're constantly trying to create that perfect costume that's going to give you the best movement and the best crowd interaction,” Kemmet said. "We're still fairly new. Once we have a mascot that's been around a few decades, we might come across the perfect face, the perfect eyes and the perfect nose.”

Even today, Boomer and Sooner are going through a redesign.

Gransberg, who now coaches the OU mascots, is on the committee charged with making the costumed critters even more fan-friendly.

"The decision has been made,” he said. "We're trying out softer foams and lighter weight material. We're trying to tweak and evolve this into a good mascot. That's why I stay involved.”

OU mascots Boomer and Sooner, right, joke with OSU mascot Pistol Pete. The two Sooner mascots have earned the nickname "horse-pigs." BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN

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