COLUMBIA, S.C. — Few university events match the longstanding tradition of Tiger Burn, the annual pep rally held before the Carolina–Clemson football game.
The annual pep rally, which also features a tongue-and-cheek eulogy, is attended by both students and alumni. The show also includes members of football coaching staff and team, Cocky, USC cheerleaders and dance team, student performance groups and musical entertainment.
The Carolina-Clemson game has been played since 1896 and uninterrupted since 1909. The idea of the Tiger Burn was born out of a full-scale riot in 1902. That year, when Carolina scored an upset victory, Clemson students became angry about a drawing of a gamecock crowing over a beaten tiger. Eventually, both sides agreed to burn the poster in an effort to defuse tensions, but the fighting cemented the gamecock as the USC mascot.
For more than 12 years, South Carolina's "tiger" has been designed and built by a group of students from the USC student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Previous tigers have included moving parts on a body that has extended into the night sky more than 30 feet.