"What Makes Bobby Run?" is the ninety-first episode of King of the Hill. It was first aired on December 10, 2000. The episode was written by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, and directed by Cyndi Tang-Loveland.
When Bobby realizes his chances of being chosen as “class clown” in the school yearbook have evaporated, he seeks another avenue of achieving immortality. He approaches Mr. Grandy with the idea of becoming the next Landry Longhorn, the school mascot. Though skeptical that Bobby has what it takes, Grandy informs him that tryouts will begin after school on the upcoming Wednesday. Afterward, Bobby informs his father about his intentions. Hank embraces the idea, likening his son’s preparations to training for something big. Later, inside the school gymnasium, Bobby completely wins over Mr. Grandy and the crowd of observers with a show stopping performance, and he is chosen as the new Longhorn over Mike Soto. Hank is more than proud of his son, but when he mentions “McMaynerbury’s Whuppin’s,” Bobby reacts with concern. It soon becomes apparent that whenever Arlen is winning, it is tradition for the McManerbury band to charge the Longhorn and subject him to physical punishment. During his first game as the mascot, Bobby secretly roots for a McMaynerbury victory. But when Arlen takes the lead, beads of sweat form on Bobby’s forehead. And when the band charges forward, Bobby runs out of the stadium and never returns.
When Bobby returns to school, he is subjected to much humiliation. But when Mr. Grandy asks for the return of the Longhorn costume, Bobby changes his mind by claiming to have a secret plan. Later, Bobby turns to Dale for help and describes his plan to break into Belton Middle School and steal the Belton armadillo. Dale cautions that Belton has kept its mascot under tight security ever since a theft in 1976. But as the pair begin the break-in, Dale notices four kids inside a storage room guarding the precious armadillo. By reading lips, Dale ascertains that four other students are currently putting in motion a plan to steal the Longhorn costume. When it was revealed that Bobby never set a trap to prevent the costume from being stolen, Bobby and Dale abandon their attempt to steal the armadillo and race for the Middle School, where Bobby discovers the costume intact inside the equipment room. But when the six students break into the school, a frightened Dale peels out in his Bugabago, leaving Bobby behind. The six students then kick down the door of the locker room, and upon seeing the window wide open, conclude that Bobby, too, ran off. They then wheel away the trashcan containing the Longhorn costume.
At Bobby’s urging, Hank invites Dub Taylor, considered the best mascot the school has ever had, to the next game. As the high school bands warm up the crowd, Dale informs Hank that Bobby “turned tail and ran” when a group of Belton kids threatened to steal the Longhorn costume. Hank is mortified, but Peggy reacts with concern, as Bobby never returned home and was assumed to be staying with a friend. Meanwhile, inside Belton High School storage room, Bobby climbs out of Longhorn trashcan container, where he had been hiding since the previous night. He dons he Longhorn costume and grabs hold of the armadillo. In a “suicidal” move, Bobby deliberately enters the Belton fan section of the stadium, hoists the armadillo over his head and does a taunting dance. The Arlen fans stand and cheer at the sight. But the Belton fans are not pleased. They swarm Bobby, who is buried beneath their bodies. Connie snaps a picture of the sight, which is later used in the yearbook.
- Hank Hill
- Peggy Hill
- Bobby Hill
- Luanne Platter
- Dale Gribble
- Nancy Gribble
- Jeff Boomhauer
- Bill Dauterive
- Kahn Souphanousinphone
- Connie Souphanousinphone
- Eugene Grandy (cameo)
- Keegan Evans (cameo)
- Dub Taylor (Cameo)
- The music Bobby plays for his Landry Longhorn audition is "Bust a Move" by Young MC.
- The episode title alludes to the novel What Makes Sammy Run? by Schulberg about a boy who begins his path to popularity and success by stealing a coworker's work. Bobby Hill as the Longhorns' mascot steals the rival Armadillo mascot Crackers to the cheers of his own team and fans. Bobby like Sammy ends up somewhat badly by the end.
- The Belton boys stealing the Longhorn costume couldn't tell that Bobby was inside the bin even though he would have added 50-75 pounds of weight. The costume weighs nowhere close to that amount.
- The Belton security guard tells Bobby that the Belton crowd will "tear him apart" if he gets near them with Mr. Crackers. However when he's in the crowd, they're all just staring at him with some of them even smiling. This could be chalked off as the security guard just trying to scare Bobby.
- Bobby refers to Eugene Grandy having kicked him out of chorus in the past. This is a reference to the episode "The Son That Got Away", which Bobby is seen goofing off in chorus before getting in trouble and kicked out.
- Tagline: "We are the Landrymen! Fight, fight, fight!" - Dub Taylor