AUBURN UNIVERSITY – An Auburn University alumnus had the winning bid in the online auction of War Eagle VII’s jesses and a lure used during the pregame eagle flight at the epic 2013 Iron Bowl.
Bill Nelson of Birmingham bid $12,600 to benefit the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Southeastern Raptor Center to own what he described as “certainly one of the best pieces of sports memorabilia Auburn has to offer.” The 1970 Auburn College of Engineering graduate said the eagle pregame flight is one of his favorite gameday traditions.
An auction opened Dec. 11 for the jesses and lure used by Nova, War Eagle VII, at the Auburn-Georgia football game. Fans can place bids at the auction site, www.getluredin.com. The auction will close Monday, Dec. 16.
Jesses and lures from other 2013 home games will also be auctioned at the online site. Each item is handmade and uniquely decorated by volunteers and staff of the Southeastern Raptor Center to be used at only one game. Proceeds from the auctions will support the Southeastern Raptor Center’s mission of rehabilitation, education and conservation.
Jesses are cuffs worn around the eagle’s ankles with straps to assist the handler in securely holding the eagle. The lure is used by the handler to entice the eagle to land midfield and often has talon marks from being used.
Dr. Jamie Bellah, director of the Southeastern Raptor Center and head of the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine, said “We are grateful to Mr. Nelson for his support and know he will treasure the memory of Nova’s pregame flight as well as the Tigers’ victory. We will put his generous donation toward the educational and rehabilitative missions of the Southeastern Raptor Center.
“Our volunteers contribute to the center in so many ways and their participation in designing the game lures and jesses has become a traditional contribution,” Bellah said. “It has taken some time to determine just how to make these items available to the fans. We felt it would be special to initiate the silent auction at the Iron Bowl.”
Raptor center staff care for and train Auburn’s eagles – Nova, a golden eagle who is War Eagle VII, and Spirit, a bald eagle. Retired golden eagle, Tiger, War Eagle VI, is also housed at the center and is used in the center’s many education programs.