On Sept. 5, as the Bulldogs prepared to face the Jackson State Tigers, TaTonka's Golden Sun, known to most Mississippi State folks as Champ, stepped into a role he literally had been preparing for since birth.
Growing up watching his father, TaTonka (Bully XIX), thrill fans, children and alumni as the beloved mascot of MSU, he knew that one day he would carry on the family legacy.
That day, at midfield of Davis Wade Stadium, the hours of training, and evenings spent at band practice and football practice, culminated in the event he had looked forward to since he was a puppy.
Okay, he's not a person. But at this magical season, imagine a conversation with the universally loved Bully.
"My heart swelled with pride as I stepped into the leather harness that had been worn by my father, and great-grandfather (Bully XVII known as Lucky) and great-great-grandfather (Bully XVI known to fans as Corker) to carry on a family tradition as Bully XX.
"Representing the university is a great honor and one I don't take lightly, whether wearing a Santa hat to entertain for Christmas or a tuxedo for homecoming, or when welcoming students and visitors to campus in my trademark harness.
"When I'm at home, there's nothing better than sitting in a comfortable lap relaxing," he said. "But when I put on that harness, my number one goal is representing our university with dignity and pride and showing the world there is something special about being a Mississippi State Bulldog."
Next week … Lamar Neal !