Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Crosstown USC vs. UCLA Rivalry

The University of Southern California
Do you remember high school or college days and the high spirits prior to a game with your main rival? Do you remember pranks involving mascots? The crosstown rivalry between USC (University of Southern California) and UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) has been front and center since 1916. Because the campuses are only twelve miles apart there's lots of opportunities for hi-jinks.

We're staying at the Raddison on the USC campus for the second leg of our sportscation. It's perfect for us to walk to all sports venues. It's also next to the Metro light-rail "Expo" line to downtown Los Angeles and the Staples and the Convention Centers.

But back to rivalries. During Conquest Week, the mascot statues are covered for protection. Here are before and after pictures. First comes George Tirebiter, a stray dog that became an unofficial mascot that led the USC Marching Band into football games in the 1940s.

George Tirebiter, a 1940s mascot.
George "in the doghouse" for safety.

Next comes Traveller, the white horse that has galloped in the football stadium carrying a Trojan warrior at home games since 1961. During Conquest week, Traveller gets wrapped in duct tape to keep him safe from UCLA Bruins fans.

The Traveller statue.
Traveller all taped up.

Finally comes Tommy Trojan. He represents the spirit of USC. He also gets covered in duct tape so he doesn't end up with a coat of blue and gold paint in the dead of night.

Wayne with Tommy Trojan.
Tommy Trojan "under wraps."

In addition to the protective coverings, the mascot statues are guarded 24-7 by representatives of the Trojan Knights philanthropic and school support group.

Last night there was a Bonfire Rally on the USC campus. It was closed to outsiders, but we watched from outside the fence. First came team introductions with the USC Marching Band and Song Girls.

Then it was time to light the bonfire.

When we walked through the campus earlier in the day we saw the bonfire pile and Bruin effigy that would go up in flames.

At the rally we saw the results, followed by fireworks, and bands playing until the wee hours. It's fun to return to your alma mater and enjoy the fun, even if the music is a whole lot different. -- Margy


  1. What a shame! I have never walked around the UCLA campus, Have to make a resolution for next year. The USC campus is gorgeous (and there are tons of good places to eat nearby).

    1. USC students are guilty of similar actions. One time they "appropriated" the Victory Bell that the winning team gets to keep for the year, and kept it hidden for the entire year. And I saw a picture of the UCLA bear mascot painted in crimson and gold (USC's colours). Not all the pranks are one-sided. - Margy

  2. What a pretty campus.

    1. It is, and the new buildings are designed to blend elegantly with the old. - Margy

  3. Replies
    1. The dog was unofficial, but seems to have received "official" recognition anyway. - Margy


Thanks for stopping by. Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome. - Margy