It’s rivalry week! The festivities leading up to the Carolina-Clemson football game kicked off Monday night. One of the university’s oldest traditions, Tigerburn, is a fun event that springs from a very serious incident.
It all began one year when the Carolina football team defeated a highly favored Clemson team 12-6. At the time, and for decades to come, the game was called Big Thursday and was just one of many events during the week the South Carolina State Fair was in town. After the big win, Carolina fans and players carried around a drawing of a gamecock crowing over a beaten tiger. Not too happy about it, Clemson students warned the Carolina students not to carry the banner in the big parade down Main Street the next day, or there would be consequences.
Naturally, the USC students ignored them. And when the Clemson students saw it at the parade, their cadet corps (Clemson was a military school at the time), about 300 strong and armed with rifles complete with bayonets, decided to march on campus and take the drawing away. About 40 USC students hunkered down behind the Horseshoe wall on Sumter Street, themselves armed with bricks, sticks, rocks and a few knives and pistols.
Fortunately, police and faculty intervened, and cooler heads prevailed. It was agreed that the drawing would be burned between the two student bodies while they cheered against each other.
Out of this almost dire situation, a fun celebration and long-standing tradition was born at both schools. In Columbia, that tradition is now known as Tigerburn. Each year a gigantic tiger is built by students, then burned at a pep rally the week of the big game.
My Carolina’s exclusive Carolina/Clemson t-shirt is becoming a tradition. For the fourth year in a row, they have teamed up with award-winning editorial cartoonist and member Robert Ariail to ride home with another victory this fall against the Tigers. Join My Carolina today and you’ll receive this limited-edition Carolina/Clemson illustrated t-shirt.