Fort Hays State University is getting promotion in Buelach (boo-lahch), Switzerland, as the Tiger head logo can be seen careening around the village's countryside on the shirts of a cross-country bike team.
"Some five years ago, some friends of mine started mountain biking frequently on Sundays," said Adrian Birrer (beer-uh), a member of the Bike Tigers and webmaster for the club. "So, we came together and founded the Buli Bike Tigers."
Birrer said that "Buli" (boo-lee) stands for "Buelach," the name of his village 20 miles north of Zurich (tsoo-rihch), Switzerland."
"There is no exact figure about members," he said, "but I guess we have about 30 Tigers and some Tigresses."
Suzanne Klaus, FHSU's Web site manager, was contacted in early June by Birrer about using the FHSU logo for his groups' shirts.
"We really wanted our own bike shirt," Birrer said. "So I decided to create one and went to Google Images Search with the keyword 'Tigerhead.' Scrolling through the pic archives on Google, the FHSU logo just jumped at me. It is far the best layout I could see! Congratulations to the person who drew it!"
FHSU's Tiger log was designed by Mary Ridgway, the university's art director.
Enthralled by the Tiger graphic, he contacted Klaus for permission to use the logo legally for his team.
Klaus and Birrer spent the next few months communicating by e-mail, working through the copyright procedures that would let the Bike Tigers use the graphic.
For a small copyright fee, the group was given permission to use the logo for their shirts.
"We receive a lot of compliments about our shirts and we are proud to have them," Birrer said. "All of our Bike Tigers have at least one."
Birrer said that the shirts allow the group to stand out in their competitions. "People at the races yell 'Go Tiger, Go!' This is a real motivator to us."
He said that the shirts are seen often because of the group regularly participates in competitions.
"In Switzerland we have frequent mountain bike races. Just a week ago," he said on Sept. 15, "there was the world championship race in Lugano, the southern part of Switzerland, just close to the Italian border."
Balz Weber (BAHLTZ VEH-buh), a member of the Bike Tigers, won the gold medal and is World Champion U23, a division for people younger than 23 years of age.
"We are so proud of him," Birrer said.
"I personally attended two marathon races in the Alps for this year," he continued. "The Swiss Bike Masters race had a distance of 45 miles and an altitude of 9,000 feet. The second race was just two weeks ago in the Swiss Alps as well. The National Park Race had 75 miles and 3,000 meters of altitude. I did finish this race as 114 out of 800. So for my age, 46, quite successfully."
"There are a lot more events going on, but we cannot attend to all," Birrer said.
To view the Bike Tigers German Web site, which has pictures of them in their shirts and information about the group, visit http://www.buelibiketigers.ch/.