Husker Hombre is a good guy
Posted: vie, ago 23, 2013
His sombrero is big.
His mustache is black. (Wax keeps it curled just right.)
His bandolier is loaded with corn, not bullets.
They call him the "Husker Hombre."
"Hey, Hombre!" they shout to him on Husker games at Memorial Stadium.
"Go Big Red!" he shouts back, slapping high-fives.
This Mexican cowboy came up from South Texas six years ago and found a home in Nebraska. His real name is Paul Favela, who in real life is a third-year dental student in Lincoln and a 2011 UNL graduate.
"I've never had anything bad said to me, which surprised me at first," Paul says. "But when you really think about it – and about Husker fans – it really shouldn't be surprising."
You can see him and his amigos sleeping outside the stadium the night before games so they can get the best seats. Feel free to give them coffee, he says, if you see them there in line some cold morning.
You can see him during games in the south end of the student section.
You can see him on TV when the Huskers play at home – he'll point a giant ear of corn at the camera or do the "bones" with his arms and look menacing. But there's usually a smile under that mustache.
Because Memorial Stadium is one of his favorite places to be.
"It's always fun to see people who are excited for Husker football just like me," he says. "Looking out at the stadium – it's just the best. It's what I live for. You see that everybody is cheering for the same crew of kids out there, the same team, the same idea and the same institution. We're all there to support the football team and the school. And we're there because we're Huskers."
What is a Husker Hombre?
It's just him acting kind of ridiculous on Saturdays, he says. It's fun for him and the other fans.
The Hombre was born one Spring Game after Husker Coach Bo Pelini made a joke about a "peso defense" – not quite a nickel, the coach said.
Paul saw a sombrero sitting in his garage. He wrote "peso" on one side and "defense" on the other and wore it to that spring game. People liked it.
Over the summer, he created the first outfit. His mom back in Victoria, Texas, stitched together the red jacket with the corn bandoliers. He started growing the mustache. His dad's mustache became the model.
"You can't be an old school Mexican cowboy," Paul says, "without having a really legit mustache."
"Hombre" means "good guy." Somebody on a Husker website first suggested the name. Paul liked it right away. He thought it was hilarious – the perfect mix of Nebraska and the Old West.
"The joke is that in English, the ‘h' in ‘Husker' and ‘Hombre' alliterate," he says. "But in Spanish, the name doesn't alliterate at all because there's no ‘h' sound in Spanish."
He says there would be no Husker Hombre if not for the scholarships he's received over the years – both as an undergraduate chemistry major at UNL and now as a dental student at UNMC. (The College of Dentistry is located on UNL's East Campus, which makes it convenient for the Husker Hombre to get to the stadium.)
"Throughout my whole stay here in Nebraska, with having the best time I've ever had and having such a life-changing experience, I've always wanted to say thanks to all the donors and everybody involved in the scholarship process because without that first scholarship, this wouldn't have been possible.
He hopes to start a dental practice in Nebraska someday. And a family.
He met the woman he'll marry in Lincoln. Last season, he told her he'd propose if the Huskers won 10 games, which they did. They'll marry this December.
The Husker Hombre says he'll hang up his sombrero when he's done with dental school. But he'll never stop supporting the Huskers.
He plans to give back to the university and its students someday, he says, because people gave back to him.
"This is what is supposed to happen in my opinion – you bring kids from all over the country, from South Texas like me – people who have never been to Nebraska before – and you show them what Nebraska is about and they'll stay. I think that's good for the state.
"The state is going to have one more dentist now, thanks to everybody who's ever helped me out."
And Go Big Red!
Supporting talented students like Paul Favela – a.k.a. the "Husker Hombre" – is a top priority of the Campaign for Nebraska. If you'd like to help, please give online or contact the University of Nebraska Foundation at 800-432-3216.