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    Tusk III, the Razorback mascot

    9:58 PM, Aug 5, 2010   |    comments
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    He pretty much has free roam around his climate controlled barn. Tusk is a Russian boar - 500 pounds of Russian boar. His training table includes a custom blend of corn and grain and that makes Tusk a happy hog.

    It was 1996 when former player David Bazzel started the search for a live Razorback mascot. "I asked Coach Broyles would you let me restart the mascot program with a real razorback. I see the value of having a live mascot. Of course at that time I said it would be better coach if someday we could get him to run on the field and Coach Broyles said, 'David that would be great.' It would be like the Colorado buffalo or the Texas longhorn," says Bazzel.

    "Everytime we score a point we give him the amount of points on the scoreboard in grapes," says Keith Stokes.

    Keith helped with the search for a Razorback mascot; this is actually Tusk number three.Taking care of the Razorback mascot is now a Stokes family affair.

    "500 pounds wanting up in my lap. yeah it's kind of scary sometimes," says Stokes.

    But the Stokes have turned Tusk into a bit of a family pet, gentle enough to feed by hand. "He's an amazing animal. And he's gentle, he doesn't get at you or anything," says THV's Mike Duncan to Keith.

    "No no, he's pretty docile. But like I said, you've just got to be aware of him at all times. He would never intentionally hurt you," says Keith.

    When Keith and family haul Tusk to the games in his custom trailer -- it causes quite a commotion. "Our trailer is equipped with a sound system, okay, and when we pull in anywhere we start playing the fight song. And when we stop we draw a crowd. I mean, we draw huge crowds. Whenever we stop, it takes at least 30 or 40 minutes to pull away because you always have people coming up and taking pictures and want to know things. It truly is like traveling with a rock star," says Keith.

    The next generation is already in training - meet Tusk 4, and yes, he has been trained to sit. Tusk 4 is only a few months old, and remember the running on the field idea - Tusk 4 shows some promise there.

    Of course, once he's full-grown, it will take more than a former football star to steer him down the field. But they're the first steps in a dream that started almost 15 years ago.

    Keith and his family say it's a privilege to be the caretakers of such a unique mascot. They say each Razorback fan is part owner in Tusk, it's just they're job to make sure he's ready when game time comes in a few weeks.

    Tusk III is a Razorback that will leave you Amazed by Arkansas.

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