ATHENS — Somebody’s going to get collared at the Georgia game this weekend. And his name is “Que.”
Que officially will be designated — or collared, as the Bulldogs like to call it — Uga X in a pregame ceremony Saturday before Georgia plays Georgia Southern. Que succeeds “Russ,” who served 63 games as Uga IX since 2009. Russ is retiring at the ripe old age of 11.
Que, who is just 2 1/2 years old, has actually been on the job for a while now. He presided over all seven games this season and all preseason activities in what the Sonny Seiler family referred to as an “audition period.” That went off without a hitch.
“We had to wait till Tennessee to fly him on an airplane,” said Charles Seiler, who has handled all the dogs for the past couple of decades and is Que’s personal owner. “There are a lot of new things for him, such as he had never been on an airplane, never been on a bus, never been on an elevator. There’s a lot of new things he has to get ready for that most people don’t think about.”
Que was chosen as successor from a pool of four pure white English bulldogs, two of them older and one of them younger. As Russ’s predecessors both died early — Uga VIII lived only 14 months — the Seilers chose to err on the side of youth. Plus, as has been noted in this interim period, Que is extremely cute.
“He’s a handsome devil,” said Sonny Seiler as the family made its way to Athens. “And Charles has brought him up right. He has a 7-year-old (Cecil) and he wanted him to grow up with a bulldog like he did. And Cecil has done a good job with him, too.”
The collaring of the UGA mascot is a big deal. As he rode to Athens from Savannah with his wife Wendy, Charles was going over a laundry list of media obligations for him and Russ Friday and Saturday before the game. There’s an alumni event Friday night at the UGA Bookstore, a video to shoot at Vet School on Saturday morning and several interview requests to fulfill throughout the day.
“Typically we don’t do a lot of things before games because we don’t want him to be tired,” Charles said.
One of the biggest challenges on Saturday is simply handling two dogs, Charles said. “That presents another whole set of logistical challenges.”
As is the school’s tradition, UGA President Jere Morehead will remove the official mascot spiked collar from Russ during the ceremony and place it on Que. From then on Que will be known as Uga X.
”Uga is cherished by University of Georgia fans worldwide,” Morehead said in the school’s news release. ”We are grateful for Russ’s dedicated service, and we look forward to welcoming Que as our new mascot.”
Russ will go down as one of the most beloved Ugas of all time. He took over in what was expected to be interim role in 2009 and 2010 after Ugas VII and VIII passed away unexpectedly. Russ was considered imperfect because he had a brown patch on his backside and one ear, thus not fulfilling the general requirement that Georgia’s mascot be pure while.
Russ served in an interim for a total of 25 games, including all 14 games during the 2011 season. He then served for two wins at the beginning of the 2012 season before being promoted as Uga IX prior to the Florida Atlantic game on Sept. 15, 2012.
“We are thrilled to have Que join our long line of mascots,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said. “He has already proven to be up to the task of serving as our official mascot. We tip our cap to Russ, who served admirably as UGA IX and has been a great mentor to Que, UGA X.”
UGA’s continuous line of English bulldog mascots has been owned by the Seiler family of Savannah since 1956. Sonny’s son All of the Ugas and entombed in the southwest corner of Sanford Stadium.