When the New York City Gamecock Club went looking for a home five years ago, it found plenty of open arms. That probably wouldn’t have been the case 10 years ago, says JR Buzzelli, president of the club and a 1992 USC graduate.
“We are on a national scale, and people know more about us now,” Buzzelli said. “We are no different than the Georgia club up here or the LSU club.”
Three years ago, after visiting several bars in search of a gathering place, the NYC Gamecock Club settled on The Mason Jar, and the relationship has been a rousing success. The Gamecocks have become such a fixture there that The Mason Jar on Saturday will make a $50,000 donation to be split between the club and the New York City MyCarolina Alumni Association. Buzzelli and plenty of Gamecocks will be on hand to watch the South Carolina-Alabama baseball game and accept the donation.
The bar, in midtown Manhattan, has become a home away from home for South Carolina graduates and fans, particularly during football season.
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“Those 13 (games) are all events for us in the New York area,” Buzzelli said. “The big games, we are just like Williams-Brice. The Georgia game this year is going to be huge. The Texas A&M game is going to be huge.”
For big games, The Mason Jar has to send South Carolina fans to an overflow bar because the fire code allows 450 people in its building. Gamecocks such as athletics director Ray Tanner, quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus and former offensive lineman Kyle Nunn have stopped by the bar during trips to the city, and Buzzelli and company are hoping coach Steve Spurrier will come in at some point.
This summer, the NYC Gamecock Club will join with the fan clubs from other SEC schools for an annual tailgating event in Central Park.
“There is a lot of camaraderie at that event,” Buzzelli said, “but the other 364 days a year we are at each other’s throat.”