Team and school loyalty is one thing, but this mascot tattoo is the fulfillment of a bet. The man I tattooed today wasn't entirely sure his son could leave the balmy climate of Santa Barbara and make it through the harsh weather of Minnesota. So Dad bet Son that if he did in fact complete a winter at his college in Minnesota, well, he'd get the school's mascot as a permanent tattoo. His first tattoo, and he did it. The real team loyalty is this father-son team.
According to Wikipedia:
"Goldy Gopher is the mascot for the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus and the associated sports teams, known as the Golden Gophers, as well as the defending UCA Mascot National Champion. During the year, Goldy makes over 1000 appearances and is at virtually all home games for University teams, usually wearing the appropriate sporting attire."
"Minnesota became known as the `Gopher State' in 1857, the result of a political cartoon ridiculing the $5 million Railroad Loan which helped open up the West. The cartoon portrayed shifty railroad barons as striped gophers pulling a railroad car carrying the Territorial Legislature toward the "Slough of Despond". The first U of M yearbook bearing the name "Gopher Annual" appeared in 1887.
Minnesota's athletic teams became widely known as the "Gophers" by the 1920s but it was not until 1934 that the immortal Halsey Hall, great Minnesota sportswriter and broadcaster, dubbed Bernie Bierman's all-gold uniformed team "The Golden Gophers" (Bierman chose the gold color because the football blended in with the uniforms!).
The embodiment of the Gopher mascot came to life in 1952 when U of M assistant bandmaster Jerome Glass bought a fuzzy wool gopher suit with a papier mache head and asked one of the band members to climb into it. "Goldy" Gopher (the first name seems to have appeared sometime in the '60s) became a fixture with the Marching Band and Pep Band, as each year a bandmember was chosen to don the suit for that season. Wherever these two bands performed, Goldy was there to glad-hand with the crowd, hug the little kids, torment the cheerleaders and generally add a friendly Minnesota flavor to the event."