One of WT’s Live Mascots Dies Following Routine Procedure 

Chip Chandler

Lightning, one of the two buffalo calves being trained as a live WTAMU mascot. Photo provided by WTAMU Communication and Marketing

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124, [email protected]   

CANYON, Texas — One of West Texas A&M University’s two live mascots-in-training has died. 

The calf known affectionately as “Lightning” was euthanized after he developed complications following a routine husbandry procedure performed this week by the University veterinarian. 

Mater, the other buffalo calf being trained as the official mascot, did not have any complications and is healing well from his procedure. 

“The Herdsmen team is saddened by the loss of Lightning,” said Herdsman adviser Logan Burleson. “The loss of an animal that you devote so much care and time toward is never easy.”  

The Herdsmen will continue to train Mater to serve as Thunder XIV, the latest in a line of live WT mascots. The University is exploring options to find a companion animal for Mater during the training process. 

WT’s first live mascots were purchased in 1922 from Col. Charles and Mary Ann Goodnight; the buffalo “Charlie” was mounted for posterity and donated to Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. The live mascot program was revived in the 1970s, when the Herdsmen were formed. 

Bolstering regional pride and campus spirit is in line with the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World. 


About West Texas A&M University 

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. With enrollment of more than 10,000, WT offers 60 undergraduate degree programs, 40 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs. 


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