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Tampa Mayor Buckhorn defies Gasparilla pirates, keeps key to city

TAMPA — There's a new mayor in town, and this one isn't afraid of pirates.

In their annual invasion of downtown Tampa, two dozen crusty pirates from Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla stormed the city Tuesday.

Booming cannons and a soaring orchestral track hinted imminent doom.

"What can we expect to see this year?" a reporter asked a particularly snaggle-toothed pirate.

"Arg!" he replied. "A lot of pillaging."

The mayor approached. The pirate captain demanded the key to the city.

And unlike his predecessor, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said, "No."

"It took me 20 years to get the key," he said. "I'm not giving it back up."

"Argggg!" the pirates yelled.

Anyway, Buckhorn explained, one of his daughters had asked him not to.

The pirates, she said, "smell bad."

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.