Respect the Bell

The Cowbell is one of Mississippi State's most beloved traditions. Generations of fans have cheered the Bulldogs on to victory with cowbells that in some circles are considered family heirlooms. With the Bulldogs winning big and drawing national attention, the cowbell tradition will only draw more scrutiny and there will be some looking to silence the bells once and for all.

For decades, Mississippi State fans of all ages have given each other cowbells as a rite of passage within the Bulldog family.

Rockey Felker knows this tradition from just about every angle.

Felker has been on the field of play as both a player and a coach as the clang of the cowbells rained down during competition.

Like you and I, Felker wants the cowbell tradition protected.

"The cowbell is a big part of Mississippi State tradition," said Felker. "It's something that Mississippi State takes a lot of pride in.

"It is real important that we continue this tradition.

"When you're winning, it's only natural that the fans get more in to it, but it's real important that we go by the SEC rule and ring them responsibly.

"It's a tradition that we need to protect, because just about every Mississippi State fan has a cowbell at home that has been handed down by grandfathers.

"It's a big part of being a Mississippi State fan.

"Most of our fans do a really good job with it, but it's real important that we all do a good job of ringing them at the right time."

Your Bulldogs need and appreciate your support. As a former player himself, Felker understands what hearing that support means to those trying to win the game.

"It meant a lot to me, especially when times were good," explained Felker. "I remember the 1974 season sitting in the locker room hearing those cowbells.

"As a player you heard those things outside and you knew we were about ready to go play a big SEC game, winning seasons and bowl opportunities were at stake.

"That meant a great deal to me as a player and it still does."

The Bulldog cowbell was silenced as part of an SEC initiative following the 1974 season. Though creative fans were able to sneak their bells into Davis Wade and continue the tradition, it was not until 2010 that the SEC let Bulldog freedom ring.

With the largest crowds to ever attend Bulldog home games at Scott Field rolling in this season thanks to stadium expansion and unprecedented on the field success, the cowbells will likely become an issue again.

More people mean more bells, which could be a problem if there is not a concerted effort by Bulldog fans to follow the rules and protect one of Mississippi State's most unique traditions.

"It's a big part of Mississippi State and it's a tradition known throughout the country and it relates to who we are," said Felker. "We need to protect our tradition by ringing the cowbells at the right time."

Don't let them take your bell! Ring responsibly!

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