INDIANAPOLIS — The Saint Peter's Peacocks are the Cinderella story of the NCAA tournament after strutting their way to a pair of upset wins in Indianapolis last week.
Now the Peacocks are in Philadelphia getting ready to take on Purdue in the Sweet 16 Friday night.
There is another peacock in Indianapolis with a name made famous during March Madness decades ago, a white and blue peacock named "Larry Byrd."
Larry Byrd is one of the many animals at City Ranch. The petting zoo on the far west side of Indianapolis offers traveling pony parties and farm animal encounters.
That includes a friendly peacock who likes attention.
"We picked Larry up at a little flea market,” said City Ranch owner Tammy Ray. “The previous owners didn't care for his colors and I fell in love."
So the once-unwanted 9-year-old Larry Byrd is sort of a Cinderella story like the Saint Peter's Peacocks.
"He's called a pied eyed,” said Ray. “There's several different colors. White is a little bit unusual. So, he's not real common in his personality or in his color. He does spread his wings when he is in the mood."
A basketball placed in front of Larry did not put him in the mood to spread his white feathers. But another younger peacock at City Ranch, Kiwi, spread out his more colorful feathers to impress the peahen.
Turkeys and roosters made a racket, but Larry Byrd offered no pregame peacock trash talk before Friday's matchup against the Boilermakers.
Ray gave her imitation of Larry’s mating call.
"Ca-caw! Ca-caw! Ca-caw!”
“That's kind of it,” said Ray, chuckling. “It is a little bit loud, but it's only in the spring and in the fall is when they do their mating call."
The sound of mating March Madness.
As for basketball, Larry has about a six-foot wingspan when his feathers are spread. He can’t dribble, but he has good hangtime.
"He does like to fly,” said Ray. “The higher they get, the more comfortable that they are. So a lot of times he'll stay inside (on a high perch in the pen), or he's flown to the top of the trees. But he comes back down every day. Maybe one day I can teach him how to shoot some hoops. I'm not quite sure. But he's looking at that basketball like he might want to do something with it."
We asked Larry Byrd to "peck" a winner of the matchup between Saint Peter’s and Purdue. We placed two papers with the team logos in front of him and sprinkled some treats on the papers.
Larry thought long and hard about his choice. He considered the matchups and the seeds. He set aside his bird bias and his home state allegiance.
You can watch Larry Byrd pick his winner, Peacocks or Boilermakers, Friday morning on 13Sunrise.