Annual pep rally excites students, features destruction of rival mascot
When Frank Anderson from the Lutheran Campus Ministry took the stage at the annual Tiger Burn pep rally Monday evening to give the eulogy for the tiger, he began by saying with a chuckle that he wanted to start off with a reading from Psalm 34:17.
And it was a fitting reminder of Carolina's 34-17 victory over Clemson in last year's football game.
The Tiger Burn occurs every year to raise school spirit the week before the rival game. This year's tiger was built by six engineering students who each put in 35 hours of work to complete the tiger, said Travis Edwards, a third-year mechanical engineering student, who helped with the construction.
Edwards said the tiger was a little over 25 feet tall and the construction crew convinced the Columbia Fire Marshall to allow them to fill parts of it with hay in an effort to out-burn last year's tiger.
"The Tiger Burn was awesome this year," said second-year pre-pharmacy student Ryan Prendergast. "Something just seemed different."
However, the Tiger Burn is about more than burning a giant version of Clemson's mascot, said Student Body President Ebbie Yazdani.
"Events like these are very important," Yazdani said. "It brings so many different folks as part of the Carolina community together. We had campus ministry represented, Mrs. [Patricia Moore] Pastides up on stage dancing to Sandstorm, the engineering program, the step teams and the cheerleaders. It brings everyone together around our hatred for Clemson athletics."
President Harris Pastides said that some people may think there is cruelty involved in the Tiger Burn, but he assured that it is all in good-natured fun.
"We respect Clemson, and the surest way to lose is not to respect your adversaries," President Pastides said. "We have lots of respect for Clemson, but this is a great tradition as well. We'll be looking forward to a significant win."