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ANIMAL ATTRACTION: The Live Mascots of the SEC

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TUSK

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 (pictured here), owner of the farm where Tusk lives. Indeed, quite an improvement over that red pig.