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A palette of school spirit

The Beef Studs and Babes host tailgates at every home USF football game completely free to students who choose to paint their bodies before the game. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

Alum Brandon Faza, along with his friend Ryan Capahi, noticed two men at USF football games in 2002 painted in the school’s colors calling themselves “The Green and Gold Guys,” and were interested in joining them.

After being notified it was more of a two-man show and not being satisfied with the answer, they decided to create their own group, a team of rowdy USF fans willing to paint their bodies green and gold in an effort to support the football team.

“[Capahi] and I debated what to call ourselves,” Faza said. “We wanted it to be related to USF or Bulls. My dad is a large animal veterinarian, and all the cattle owners have the ‘BEEF’ license plates, so I suggested we use beef for part of the name.

“Ryan suggested beef steaks or beefcakes, then I said ‘Those don’t sound very studly’ … So then we decided on Beef Studs. Later, when girls joined, we realized we had to make the name more inclusive, so then it became the Beef Studs and Babes.”

Faza and Capahi approached Stuart Silverman, the dean of the Honors College at the time, who gave the group their first $50 to buy paint.

Not long after, the group developed a following, and away it went.

The Beef Studs and Babes, currently led by co-presidents Gaby Arias and Miranda Maldonado, are still going strong with participating members from both current students and alumni. Getting “painted up” is something anyone can do, whether it be just a one-time thing or a full-time commitment.

Dedicated to amplifying the game day experience, the Beef Studs and Babes are present at every home game in support of the Bulls through all the highs and lows.

“My initial reaction [when I saw the Beef Studs and Babes was,] ‘Oh my goodness, this is such a fun group,’” Arias said. “Personally, I like watching football, but the moment I started getting painted up, it was just a completely different experience.

“I’m the type of person that likes to get up and get loud, and a lot of times people just kind of sit around at the game and don’t do that much, but with the Beef Studs, it gives me the opportunity to be loud and be crazy and have fun. It’s what we’re supposed to do.”

The front row seats in the student section at Raymond James Stadium are sectioned off for the Beef Studs and Babes so they can show their support in the fullest sense. The most important mission of the members is to create a fun and exciting atmosphere for others to emulate.

Whether it be by jumping around to energize those around them, or rooting for the Bulls audibly, the Beef Studs and Babes make their presence felt.

“I think we have a huge impact,” current Beef Stud Kyle Muffoletto said. “Just seeing other people as hyped [as] the front row people will create [a] more competitive atmosphere … You can see everyone’s beaming, and then basically the stadium’s loud and the whole football team hears and I think it has a huge effect.”

Arias said the Beef Studs and Babes have an impact on those on the football team’s roster, no matter how great or poor the attendance is.

“No matter if there’s only like 10 fans at the game or there’s like 100, we’re there regardless,” Arias said. “I know the players definitely love our support. After every game we win, they come and high-five us and they thank us for all our support.

“I definitely know it makes them feel appreciated.”

To be a Beef Stud or Babe, it starts with going to their tailgate tent before entering the stadium to get painted up. They’ll take green, gold and white paint and make a bulls logo stencil in the center of their chest with a green stripe down the middle, as well as adding gold on their sides with a paintbrush. 

The traditional style has been kept intact since the first Beef Studs and Babes appearance in 2002.

Once in the game, the Beef Studs and Babes sit in their designated first row and cheer on the Bulls. While there, the group must stay standing during the entirety of the game, except for halftime. Committed members are not allowed to use their phones so they are ready for the next play. Booing of any kind is also frowned upon, as the Studs and Babes like to maintain a positive attitude.

There are also a few traditions to follow during the game. On third downs, one will yell “Bulls, what is your profession?” and the rest will yell back with a “Woo, woo.” When the team scores, someone from the group will be lifted into the air for as many points scored.

The tailgates put together pregame are of no charge to any student looking to participate in the festivities.

“Our tailgate is completely free to students,” Arias said. “All the food, all the drinks, everything. We just ask that they show up and get painted and they can just participate in our tailgate.

“Or if they’re part of their own tailgate and just want to come by and get painted, they can do that.”

The Beef Studs and Babes have also recently partnered with Student Bulls Club, so the group receives funding for its events from Athletics and Student Government, according to Arias.

While the group brings life and energy to the fans and players, it also has benefits to the members themselves.

Maldonado said the experience allowed her to make new connections and gave her a place to fit into the USF community early in her collegiate life.

“When I was a freshman, like the first game [I was going to,] one of the old members posted in the Facebook group that you can come tailgating and paint up,” Maldonado said. “I was like, ‘Okay, I’m new here from out of state, I didn’t really have any friends … I’ll go to this, that sounds like fun.’

“So I went and it ended up being super fun. I quickly became friends with some other people that were painting up. I [would] say this [experience] just makes me more proud of showing how much spirit [I have and] makes me glad I chose to come here.”

As the Beef Studs and Babes approach their 20-year anniversary next year, they’ll look to continue growing and leaving a mark on the university.

“I hope someday to be an old Bulls fan at USF football games, looking over at the student section and seeing the Beef Studs and Babes still keeping it crazy and showing pride for the green and gold,” Faza said.