Reveille, Texas A&M’s beloved mascot, is one of A&M’s many long standing traditions. It was announced last August that Batie Bishop would be her handler for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Bishop, an agriculture leadership and development sophomore in Company E-2, is Reveille IX’s current handler. He will also be her last handler, as the university announced in a Feb. 5 tweet that Reveille IX will be retiring at the end of this spring semester. A second generation Aggie, Bishop is one of many regarded as the “Guardians of Tradition” in Aggieland.
“If I came to A&M and I didn’t challenge myself, then I wasn’t going better myself,” Bishop said. “Joining the Corps was a great opportunity to challenge myself academically and physically to become a better leader.”
His time in the Corps has been a positive and transformational experience that has taught him responsibility, team work, time management and structure, Bishop said.
“As a freshman, it’s a very large change in your life,” Bishop said. “You go from doing whatever you want to having a regimented lifestyle with early wakeup calls [and] designated times for exercise and leadership activities. It’s changed me in a thousand different ways and transformed every aspect of my life for the better.”
Bishop said he thinks he was chosen to be Reveille’s handler because of his dedication to the Corps and his personal morality.
“The tryout process was tough, but it was supposed to be that way,” Bishop said. “You’re challenged mentally, physically and academically in every way imaginable. I think I was chosen not only because of the time and effort I’ve put in, but my ability to work with people and how I carry myself. A large part of this job is spreading the Aggie Spirit, and I believe I do that well.”
Although handling Reveille comes with specific duties, Bishop said there are many perks to being responsible for the First Lady of Aggieland.
“The best part is that I get a dog; I always have a fluffy cuddle buddy,” Bishop said. “Being Reveille’s handler, you get the opportunity to attend events, meet different people, companies and Aggie organizations that I otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to connect with.”
Bishop said everyday he spends with Reveille is a new and lively experience.
“Every day I have with her is a blessing,” Bishop said. “It’s a one-year job, which seems like a long time, but it flies by. There's not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful for the people in E-2 and … to have her sitting next to me.”
To Reveille’s future handlers, Bishop said he encourages them to truly enjoy the experience of getting to take care of Reveille.
“To her next handler, be thankful,” Bishop said. “I went into this not realizing how fast it would go by.”
Bishop said handling Reveille during the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been much different than he thinks it would be during a typical semester.
“I didn’t get to run out onto the football field, so that was a negative,” Bishop said. “Besides that, it hasn’t impacted much of our daily lives. It hasn’t impacted Reveille at all. She still does all the same things like going to see students, gets to go out to formation [and] to Duncan [Dining Hall.] COVID-19 has limited the amount of what we can do, but not necessarily what we can do.”
Bishop, who will also have the chance to work with the incoming Reveille X, said it’s a privilege to get to be Reveille IX’s last handler.
“Every handler has their own experience, from being clueless on the first day on the job all the way to the end. I know it would be really hard for me to hand her off to someone who is inexperienced like I was at first,” Bishop said. “I get to see her on her last day on the job, and I think that's really cool and something that not a lot of people get to do.”