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Vice President George Bush and Sen. Strom Thurmond were...

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Vice President George Bush and Sen. Strom Thurmond were greeted by about 200 chanting protesters today prior to Thurmond's induction with late statesman James F. Byrnes into the South Carolina Hall of Fame.

The demonstrators marched in warm, sunny weather outside the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, singing and waving placards saying 'Don't Honor Racists' and 'Save the Voting Rights Act.'

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Thurmond, R-S.C., has been criticized by some black spokesmen for his stand on the 1965 Voting Rights Act. But he also was been praised for arguing in Congress that the law should apply to the nation as a whole.

A Conway policeman estimated about 200 people were on hand for the peaceful protest.

Bush, Thurmond, their wives and aides were whisked in a motorcade past the demonstrators for ceremonies inside the building, which was ringed by police, Secret Service agents and other security officials.

An Air Force jet carrying the vice president, Thurmond, their wives and aides landed at 10:10 a.m. in fair weather at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base.

They met briefly with a delegation of local officials, then went to Myrtle Beach in a motorcade. The induction ceremonies were set for mid-morning.

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The setback doesn't appear to bother Bowl Executive Director Bob Lochamy, however.

'Depleting the reserve fund, in my opinion, is secondary,' Lochamy said Wednesday. 'It's timely, it's good business.'

The New Year's Eve bowl, won 10-0 by Mississippi State, made an estimated $927,500. The formula calls for participating schools to get 75 percent ofthe total revenue. That comes to only $695,625 -- some $104,375 short of the promised $800,000 payoff.

Lochamy wouldn't say how much money is in the reserve fund, but indicated it might not be enough to make up the difference.

However, the bowl's underwriters will pick up the tab if necessary, he said.

He would only identify the underwriters as members of the bowl's executive committee.

Lochamy said he considers the step backwards small compared to the leaps forward the bowl will make in the next three years.

'We've got our foot in the door with the Southeastern Conference now,' he said. 'We're not just talking with them anymore.

'The SEC has one of its members (MSU) very aware that we do a good job with the Hall of Fame Bowl,' he said. 'That word is going to get around.'

Attracting an SEC team has been a goal of the bowl since its inception five years ago. Signing Mississippi State meant the bowl finally cleared the hurdle.

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The bowl will attract bigger crowds with more attractive Friday, Saturday and Monday dates during the next three years, Lochamy said. It will continue to be played Dec. 31.

Lochamy said a $400,000 payoff means the Hall of Fame can compete financially with the Gator, Bluebonnet, Liberty, Peach and Garden State.

That amount makes it more attractive than the Sun, Tangerine or Independence bowls as well as the new California Bowl, he said.

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