The Daily Gamecock

'Tiger Burn' ignites Gamecock crowd

USC’s 65th annual Tiger Burn was held on Monday night, with hundreds of students flocking to the Greene Street Intramural Fields to watch a 30-foot replica of Clemson’s mascot quickly burn to rubble. The rally kicked off a week of events preceding Saturday’s USC-Clemson football game.

The event was put on by the USC American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Rajah Faraj, a third-year mechanical engineering student and vice president of USC’s chapter of the ASME, said that he, along with the other members of the ASME team that helped construct the tiger, was excited to continue the tradition.

“I wanted a big project to do for this semester," Faraj said. "I wanted to burn that tiger.” 

Faraj also said that the project took the team of students approximately two weeks to complete.  The structure, comprised primarily of metal, wood and paper, was reduced to the frame in less than five minutes.

While the crowd was predominantly students, USC alumni also came out to observe the annual tradition. Jennifer McKellar, a graduate of the USC law school and devoted Gamecock fan, attended in support of the longstanding rivalry.

“I’ve been coming to Tiger Burn since I was a child back in the '80s, and it was always a really big deal," McKellar said. "The Clemson rivalry means more to Gamecock fans than any other game we play.” 

She also said that the number of students in attendance was encouraging, given that the tradition has usually been carried on by die-hard fans. McKellar brought her son, William Bryce, out for his first Tiger Burn, hoping to pass the tradition down her family line.

The event also drew many new USC students, including Jemirel Reyes, a third-year psychology transfer student. The energy of the Tiger Burn created a good atmosphere for even the most casual fans, with school spirit abound.

“I’m glad we came. It was fun, even though it was short,” she said. 

The Tiger Burn was the last collection of the Palmetto Series Food Drive. The friendly competition aimed to channel the school rivalry into a positive cause, bringing the schools to compete for the most food donations.


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