Behind the burn

Tiger Burn is a tradition that sparks school spirit in the Carolina community every rivalry week. For the past 12 years, students and alumni have come to see the tiger built by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers burst into flames.

While the pep rally is attended by members of the football team and coaching staff, Cocky, the UofSC cheerleaders and dance team, the tiger is always the main attraction.

David Reyes-Bastida, the president of both organizations, says a month’s worth of hard work goes into the creation that burns down in just minutes.

Reyes-Bastida and about a dozen first-year students from the two engineering organizations meet for four hours every Tuesday and Thursday in November to build the tiger. The group is split into teams, each assigned a different part of the build — head, body or creative design.  

After designing the written and online blueprints, the students build the frame, add in the details and cover their creation with chicken wire and orange paper.

Measuring 30 feet tall and weighing about a ton, the tiger is taken piece by piece and assembled by a crane in the field where it will be set ablaze.

In the past, some tigers have had moving parts. This year’s tiger includes an open, moving mouth, which the designers say will allow it to burn longer.

Don’t forget to join in celebrating rivalry week this year by going to Tiger Burn Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. on Greene Street Intramural Fields.

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