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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC’s former live mascot Rameses XXI dies

Rameses Leonard Hogan Final
Rameses XXI is pet by Ann Hogan Leonard, his primary caretaker, while in his pen on Sept. 12, 2020.

On Sunday night, James Hogan had a dream that his family’s barn was on fire and he couldn’t extinguish it.

When Hogan woke up the next morning and looked out onto the field of the farm, he felt uneasy. Usually, the animals at Hogan’s Magnolia View Farm graze beneath the morning sun.

But today, one was missing — Rameses XXI, UNC’s live mascot.

Hogan went inside the barn to find the ram laying on the ground, unable to get up.

Rameses XXI died Monday afternoon. He’d been treated for arthritis in his shoulder and hips, according to Ann Hogan Leonard, who lives on Hogan’s Magnolia View Farm with her son, James.

The ram was UNC’s mascot for nearly a decade and had gone to his first football game when he was less than a year old, according to the family. The Hogan family has been taking care of UNC’s mascots for four generations now.

Rameses XXI was brought to the family’s farm a year after Ann Hogan Leonard’s husband, Robert Clay Hogan, Jr. passed away. He had been the owner of UNC’s live mascot for years.

After his father’s death, James Hogan and his brothers, Henry and Daniel, stepped up and helped train Rameses XXI.

Rameses, Hogan said, was gentle and friendly right from the start.

“It made all the difference to have a ram that made it easy for us,” he said.

Don Basnight was a handler for Rameses XXI. Though Rameses started as UNC’s live mascot younger than many previous mascots, Basnight said, he was happy and tolerant of the public from his first appearance at a North Carolina football game.

“We didn’t have to worry very much about him hurting anyone or suddenly being startled,” Basnight said. “He was just steady.”

Rameses XXI is pet by a student in Livis Freeman's MEJO 634 Public Relations Campaigns course on a class visit to the farm on Oct. 13, 2020.

Through visiting community events and attending football games with horns painted Carolina blue, Rameses XXI was always patient and calm according to the family.

He retired in the fall, and the family brought 9-month-old Otis to their farm to replace him as UNC's next mascot.

When Otis first came to the farm, Hogan said, he followed Rameses everywhere.

As family members came to visit Rameses and be with him during his last breath Monday afternoon, Otis stood in the barn with them.

“I think he was happy up until the last day of his life,” Chris Hogan, another family member who is a caretaker for the mascots, said.

Rameses was buried on the family's farm, beside former mascots.

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Just as James Hogan inherited caretaking for UNC’s mascots from his father, Otis inherited his new title Monday — Rameses XXII.