WIU’S famous bulldog now a bobblehead

MACOMB/MOLINE – It’s a grand day for Col. Rock IV (aka Ray) as his sweet face now graces an officially licensed and limited edition bobblehead, produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, Western Illinois University (WIU) officials said.

Today’s unveiling also happens to be on National Bobblehead Day, WIU said in a news release.

“The Col. Rock IV bobblehead sits on a base bearing his name and the Leathernecks logo. The AKC-certified English bulldog is wearing his official “W” jersey, and his ever-present Bulldog tongue is part of the statuette,” WIU said.

The bobbleheads, which are individually numbered to 2,021, are available at the University Bookstore, at a cost of $25. A portion of the proceeds support WIU’s live mascot program.

Rocky joined the WIU family on May 15, 2010, as a 10-week-old puppy, and was the first official four-legged mascot since the 1970s for the university. He officially retired in the summer 2019, when the collar was passed to Ray as WIU’s official live mascot.

Both Rocky and Ray were donated by Richard and Beth Siess, of the Siess Ranch in Seneca, Kansas. While they are not directly related, there is a distant lineage between Col. Rock III and Col. Rock IV, who is called “Ray” after WIU’s legendary longtime coach and athletic director Ray “Rock” Hanson, a Marine Corps veteran. 

WIU alum Joe Roselieb, executive director of auxiliary services and risk management, and Ketra Roselieb, executive director of financial affairs, house and train (and chauffeur) Ray, who will turn four on Feb. 14. The Roseliebs also were caretakers for Rocky, who passed away Jan. 25, 2021, just shy of his 11th birthday.

In the fall, the university’s Mascot Memorial Plaza project was unveiled on the Macomb campus. It pays tribute to WIU’s live mascots, both past and present. The project also includes a donors’ plaque, as well as a commemorative plaque that showcases a timeline of the live mascot program and each dog’s years of service. 

The statue is surrounded by an alumni plaza, which is made of bricks inscribed with the names of alumni and friends.

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