Oregon Unknowns: Puddles Not Allowed in Autzen Stadium?

The Oregon mascot in it’s current form is known as “The Duck.”

The Oregon Duck.

You know the one: fluffy white feathers, big feet, good dancer.  Always wears that infectious, if not permanent smile, even after hammering out a few hundred push-ups. The mascot for the University of Oregon has seen his popularity surge to unprecedented heights in the last decade. Largely attributable to entertaining gameday antics and a good-natured personality, combined with the team’s on-field success, the Duck has transformed into one of the most recognizable figures in sports.

The Duck’s rise in popularity has even sparked a level of jealousy among the less-charming peers in the conference. Like the sleaziest of politicians, some of these hideous trolls have even ventured out of their caves long enough to attempt an anti-Duck smear campaign. (Sparky who?)

Winning and having a good time are priorities for the Oregon Duck, not dealing with petty internet tough-guy tactics. Managing to earn the public’s affection in a variety of ways, the Duck always handles any business personally. One minute, going “ground-and-pound” with a Cougar from Houston, then the next moment the Duck finds itself skydiving without a head, or shaking hands and kissing babies in the stands. We all have a special place reserved for the mascot that has served the fans since 1947.

However, this incarnation of The Duck is not “Puddles”. Frequently, questions arise about the the Oregon Duck’s name. As anyone that has been in the stands over the years can attest, you might hear people call out names like “Puddles”, “Ducky”, or even “Donald.” But, what is the actual name belonging to the mascot?

The name “Puddles” originated in 1920, when before each game, a real duck would be plucked by some well-lubricated students from the Eugene Millrace; or failing that, from one of the many ponds or “puddles” in the area surrounding campus.  This duck was then brought to the game to serve as the team’s unofficial mascot. The tradition of allowing a wild duck onto the field and to venture through the stands at football games lasted until 1947, when activists from the local humane society led a successful campaign to ban the practice.

(Special thanks to Kurt Liedtke, who contributed to this post)

Print Friendly
Josh White

Josh White

Josh White has been a dedicated Duck fan since the Bill Musgrave days. He has attended (and lost his voice at) virtually every home game and many away games since the late 1980's, including 96 of the current 97 game sellout streak at Autzen Stadium. A Eugene native, Josh works full time in Eugene area real estate, helping people buy and sell residential and commercial properties, and also volunteers with Habitat For Humanity, Kidsports and Food For Lane County. He welcomes your feedback. Twitter: @WhiteHouseJosh Facebook: EugenesBestRealtor

  • liberalduck

    Thanks for setting the record straight – once again. “Puddles” is not the “The Duck”. That being said, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that “The Duck” is truly Donald Duck. Come on now, Oregon’s handshake agreement with Walt Disney is widely known and I have never heard of a Disney character named, “The Duck”, have you? Perhaps when Donald leaves the Magic Kingdom and travels to Oregon for games and appearances he just wants a break from all that Disney crap – princes and princesses, stupid castles, etc. It’s his chance to just be himself and celebrate Duckdom with the rest of us Duck fans.

  • DrakeMallard

    OK, “The Duck.” During a tough basketball game, “pressed Duck.” After a rare loss to Oregon State, “Duck a l’Orange?” All Labradors are trained to “go get the birdie,” regardless of species. We should call him Drake.