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Refurbished Admiral Farragut mascot keeps tradition ‘in the family’


With some help from restaurant owner Randy Burrelson, Aaron Campbell, 15, will carry on a family tradition of wearing the Admiral Farragut uniform.

Burrelson, owner of Aubrey’s restaurants, Sunspot, Edison Park and Barley’s Tap Room, fronted $1,200 to refurbish the uniform, which he originally paid $5,000 for in 1996, said Cheryl Campbell, Aaron’s mother.

“I was four years old when my mother helped make the uniform, and my sister was the mascott,” Aaron said. “I had a little uniform and I ran with the flag.”

This year Aaron will take on the responsibility of getting the crowd up and moving with the help of Jeffrey Doan, 14, who will also wear the uniform.

The uniform is 7 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and has size 20 feet. A hoolahoop sewn into the middle of the uniform keeps the stomach stretched out, Cheryl said. The mascot uniform was sent to a company in North Carolina to be pieced together in 1996.

Cheryl sketched out the uniform and sent it to the company, which then sent back fringe, eyes, and material to choose from, Cheryl said.

“I designed it with input from my daughter. It didn’t look just like an admiral, but it is fun and more entertaining for the kids,” Cheryl said. “We had a good time designing it.”

Although the mascot provided plenty of entertainment for a crowd, it was not easy to convince high school students to be the subject of laughter and fun, Cheryl said.

“At first, we couldn’t get anyone to be the mascot,” Cheryl said. “But now everybody loves it and the school just has a ball with it.”

Through the years the mascot uniform has been a testament to school pride, enduring years of wear. The mascot has even undergone the scrutiny of friendly rivalry when students from Bearden High School stole the fringed shoulder pads and grabbed at the mascot’s face, Cheryl said. The damage increased the need for a new uniform, Cheryl said.

Burrelson’s “generous” donation provided new boots, hands, buttons for the uniform and a dry cleaning, Cheryl said.

“The suit gets extremely hot and the person in it is sweating the whole time,” Cheryl said. “We give the person wearing it a camel pack and an ice pack to help.”

But through it all, Campbell and Doan put up with the heat and cumbersome uniform to help get the Farragut crowd on their feet.

Enthusiasts would eventually like to purchase a new uniform, but in the meantime the refurbished uniform will provide just what the school needs to show some extra school pride, Cheryl said.

 

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