4

Denver Boone rises again -- near DU, if not on campus

^
Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

If things had gone according to plan, the University of Denver would be rolling out its "Evolution of DU's mascot" event right now, highlighting past icons and introducing a new mascot, chosen after the 76-member Mascot Steering Committee studied the subject, narrowed down the options, then surveyed its constituents. But the survey was so inconclusive that that the school had decided not to decide. So the Pioneers play on without an official symbol -- while beloved former mascot Denver Boone rises again.

At least on the roof of The Pioneer. Yesterday, the Little Pub outpost at 2401 South University, finally unveiled its new rooftop deck. And there, along with the bar and firepit, was an unexpected amenity -- a seven-foot tall sculpture of Denver Boone, which served as DU's mascot from 1968 to 1998, when it was banished.

The Boone sculpture was made by owner Mark Berzins's father, who does all the design work for his son's watering holes (23, at last count).

"We thought it was a great way to connect with the alumni to bring back the mascot," says Berzins, who'd already incorporated pictures of Denver Boone on the menu and the outside of the building when he remodeled the old Chinese restaurant that had been at the address, creating a bar "that feels like a college hangout that's been here forever."

The original Boone, a cartoonish frontiersman, was designed for the University of Denver by a Walt Disney artist; it served the school for thirty years before it was booted as being too Daniel Booneish, and replaced briefly by Ruckus, the red-tailed hawk. Then in 2008, the school allowed alumni to bring Denver Boone back to sporting events -- but protests this past winter put an end to that, and Boone was not even considered as a new mascot possibility. Instead, the committee offered images of a mountaineer, a jackalope and an elk -- none of which registered well with the greater DU community.

Berzins attended Stanford and remembers when that school dumped the Indian as its mascot in the '80s and moved to a cardinal. Compared to that, complaints about Boone "seem like a little bit of a PC reach," he says. "I've been in a situation where I have to be sensitive, and this isn't one of them...it's just a Disney character."

From the Calhoun: Wake Up Call archive: "Denver Boone is dead. Long live Denver Boone."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.