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Here's why Clemson Tigers fans pay and tip with $2 bills

Local 5's Colin Cahill finds out why Clemson fans are carrying around $2 bills ahead of Wednesday's matchup against Iowa State.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Clemson Tigers fans are known for having $2 bills on hand at big games, so Local 5's Colin Cahill set out to see if he could find any of those in Orlando and figure out where the tradition came from.

The first few fans he talked to didn't come through.

"Oh my God, we totally forgot about the $2 bills! I can't believe it, we've been to all these other games," one fan said.

She said the $2 bill represents making it to the next game and the loyalty of Clemson fans.

"It shows we travel and we try to spread the love."

And Colin eventually did get see a few of the famous bills in person.

"I go everywhere with it, it's in my wallet," another fan said. "Back, I don't know what year it was, but Clemson was playing Georgia Tech, and they said Clemson would never bring any money into Atlanta. So the $2 bill started so we could show them how much money we would spend."

ClemsonTigers.com dates that game back to September 1977.

"Also it's to remind everybody of how loyal the Clemson fans are," said another fan, decked out in a Tigers blazer. "So when we give this as a tip and they see the tiger paw ... then they know Clemson has been to town."

Here's some of the history, according to Clemson University:

"Clemson played Georgia Tech in Atlanta every year the two schools met except for three games prior to the Yellow Jackets joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. In 1898, the first game in the series, the two teams played on Thanksgiving Day in Augusta, GA. In 1899, the two rivals met in Greenville, SC, also on Thanksgiving Day. The Tigers were victorious in those two games. In the first and only visit to Clemson prior to Georgia Tech joining the ACC, the Tigers defeated the Yellow Jackets 21-17 on September 28, 1974.  

In the IPTAY Report dated on September 20, 1977, then IPTAY Executive Secretary George Bennett asked that the Tiger faithful making the trip to Atlanta use $2 dollar bills to show merchants at hotels and restaurants, etc. what an impact the Clemson nation had on the local economy.  According to Bennett this was a good way to prove a point—Clemson fans do have an impact on a local economy. 'We want to make a big impact on Atlanta this weekend.  I would like to ask that every Clemson fan take as many two dollar bills as possible and use these rare bills for every expenditure.'" 

IPTAY is the Clemson University athletic booster club, which originally stood for "I pay ten every year," with the original goal in 1934 of 160 donors at $10 a year.

The Cyclones will have to hold their own against the Tigers and their $2 bills Wednesday at 4:45 p.m. CST. You can watch the 2021 Cheez-It Bowl on ESPN and get the latest stories from Orlando at weareiowa.com/sports.

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Watch complete coverage of the 2021 Cheez-It Bowl on YouTube