ANIMAL ATTRACTION: The Live Mascots of the SEC

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Photograph By Jamie Chung

University of Arkansas
Fourth Generation

In 1981, David Bazzel was a freshman Arkansas linebacker when a caged rust-color farm pig stared back at him as he walked to the locker room. Big Red, they called him. The pig seemed unkempt, unloved - and was decidedly not a razorback. So a few years after Arkansas football's 1992 entrance to the SEC, Bazzel, an involved alum, helped reinvigorate the mascot program. "I'm from Florida, and I had seen the value of having live mascots and how much pride they took in those in the SEC," he says. Tusk IV is a still-tuskless 2-year-old Russian boar. At 250 pounds, he's powerful enough to outrun a human but also capable of giving a kiss on command. "It's not the cleanest kiss in the world," says Keith Stokes, owner of the farm where Tusk lives. Indeed, quite an improvement over that red pig.