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August 23, 2008Gray skies and heavy rain were not enough to dampen the fun as members of the Auburn football team, cheerleading squad and Aubie signed autographs and posed for pictures for the children at Storybook Farm Saturday afternoon.
"It's so much fun to see the kids get excited," Auburn freshman quarterback Barrett Trotter said. "Getting the chance to talk to them and make a connection with them is just as much fun for us. This is a special day for all of us."
Trotter, a Birmingham, Ala., native, was one of more than 20 Tigers who participated in the event.
Dena Little, founder and director of Storybook Farm, noted how much the children enjoy the opportunity to interact with the players and Aubie.
"It's a tossup as to who is more popular (the players or Aubie)," Little said. "We had kids running in the rain to get to Aubie. It's just such a big day for everyone involved. We are so proud to be affiliated with Auburn and coach (Tommy) Tuberville. This is just a great chance for our children to interact with a great group of young men."
Storybook Farm provides year-round equine based therapeutic programs serving children ages 2-to-25 who are challenged with life-threatening illness, disabilities and grief.
Freshman running back Eric Smith, a native of Seffner, Fla., was overwhelmed by the reaction of the more than 20 children and their families in attendance.
"I've never seen any kids get excited to see me walking into a room," Smith said. "I've seen them get excited about someone else walking in, but never me. It was a great feeling to see them get so excited and ask for a picture or autograph. It was a lot of fun."
The Tigers took Saturday off from practice, but will return to the practice fields Sunday afternoon. Auburn opens the 2008 season Saturday, Aug. 30, against Louisiana-Monroe. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. from Jordan-Hare Stadium.