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Rowdy the Redhawk, Southeast Missouri State University's new mascot, debuted last weekend in an entrance befitting a championship boxing match.
In a darkened Show Me Center, Rowdy was introduced for the first time enveloped in a dry-ice mist and a spotlight.
An announced crowd of 6,607, by far the largest of the season and just short of capacity at the Show Me Center, came to see Rowdy and the Redhawks.
The crowd roared for both.
This is the way the Show Me Center is supposed to look and sound.
The agonizing process of changing the university's team nickname from Indians to Redhawks is over.
There are still some university sports fans and alumni who aren't willing to let go of old traditions.
If nothing else, the adoption of the new image and new mascot have sparked some excitement on campus and in the community.
The Redhawks have started a winning streak.
And, for the first time since the 1980s, the university has a mascot.
We're rooting for Rowdy and the Redhawks to start a new tradition of excitement at Southeast Missouri State University.