ANIMAL ATTRACTION: The Live Mascots of the SEC

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Photograph By Jamie Chung

University of South Carolina
Third Generation

It starts every morning around 5 o'clock - this loud, unceasing crow. But Mary Snelling and her husband, Ron Albertelli, are used to Sir Big Spur III's wake-up call by now. Since helping to start the mascot tradition 16 years ago, Snelling and Albertelli have crisscrossed the South in their RV with Sir Big Spur - all because they love South Carolina athletics. The Old English red-breasted black gamecock almost never misses a trip. Snelling, a retired nurse, says Sir is a low-maintenance traveler - just food, water and fresh bedding. But then there's the issue of his crow. Sir Big Spur sleeps outside in his storage area - unless it's too hot. Then he's inside, and 5 a.m. comes too quickly. "Sometimes," Snelling says, "it would be a whole lot easier to be a normal fan."