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By Ashley Hatch, CO Staff Writer

For decades mascots have been a symbol of pride for delegations during CONA. Delegations bring them as a way of celebrating their state.

Louisiana has an alligator head. Delegates from South Carolina this week have been seen carrying around a watermelon.

Sadly, this week two of those mascots were stolen, which seems to be a common theme during this and CONA sessions through the years.

First, Alabama’s mascot, Jerry, an orchid, was stolen. The delegates from whom Jerry was stolen then began receiving notes demanding ransom, in this case, delegation pins. The story gets even more perplexing as the delegates try to solve the mystery of who kidnapped Jerry. For more on this story, watch Tuesday’s Blue Ridge Report on YouTube (http://bit.ly/2upLw0C).

Jerry thankfully was reunited with his delegation after he was left on top of an air-conditioning duct at Tuesday night’s dance.

Wisconsin’s cow, Polly, also was kidnapped. The cow has special significance for the delegation, and they definitely need it for the ride home. They also are offering to give the delegation that returns Polly an inflatable cow for ransom.

Delegates who have had their mascots kidnapped wish for their safe return as they are symbolic to their time at CONA.

Overall, mascots are an important part of the pride that each delegation brings from their state to CONA.

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