CORVALLIS, Ore. - Ever wonder what Benny the Beaver was like in his younger years - those carefree days when chillin' at the lodge and chewing on the occasional tree trunk were all a youthful aquatic rodent had to worry about?

Wonder no more - Junior Benny is here!

Furry and long-tailed with a mischievous grin, the boyish Beav sports a baseball cap, jeans, athletic shoes and plenty of attitude. As envisioned by graphic artist Chris Hunter, he strikes a cocky pose as he flashes his oversize front teeth - a look that's sure to appeal to parents and young Beaver fans.

"Even our young fans love Benny, but we think they're going to have a great friendship with Junior Benny. He's a Beaver they can relate to," said Vice President Luanne Lawrence, who heads University Advancement for OSU. "The events that we're holding to introduce him to kids and parents are going to be a lot of fun and we think OSU fans everywhere are sure to embrace him."

Young fans will get their first look at Junior Benny on Wednesday, Nov. 12, when Benny the Beaver and student athletes from various OSU teams host Junior Benny Parties at the Bates Child Development Center and Beaver Beginnings pre-school, both on the OSU campus. Each party begins at 10 a.m., and media are welcome to attend. Call 541-737-4611 for location details or other information.

Student athletes will bring Junior Benny posters to both parties, read books with students, give away packages for each child (that include a Junior Benny t-shirt, temporary tattoos and coloring pages) and serve up a Junior Benny cake. Benny the Beaver himself will pose for photos with older kids.

It doesn't end there. Junior Benny's grand debut includes "baby beanies" being donated for newborns at Corvallis' Good Samaritan Hospital, posters featuring Junior Benny encouraging reading being delivered to schools around the state and "birth announcements" that will provide OSU faculty and staff with discounts on Junior Benny merchandise.

Junior Benny also will be the official mascot for Generation Beavs, the free kids club for OSU athletics. Members enjoy such benefits as special events, birthday wishes, "Tailmail" e-news and more.

The OSU Bookstore and Beaver Authentics will be the exclusive retail outlets for Junior Benny apparel and other licensed goods for the following two weeks. After, Beaver fans will be able to find Junior Benny gear at other retail locations throughout Oregon.

For more information on Junior Benny, call OSU Director of Marketing Melody Oldfield at (541) 737-8956.

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Melody Oldfield,