USC Mascot: Traveler
Thanks to the tremendous play that his show once received on the Nickelodeon Network, Mr. Ed, the talking horse may
be the first horse with Southern California ties that comes to mind. However, USC also has a famous horse that serves
the school as it’s mascot.
Traveler, a beautiful white horse that appears at all USC home football games is regarded as one of the most
recognizable school symbols in the country. With a Trojan warrior as his mount, Traveler continues the tradition of
whipping Trojan fans into a frenzy after a score. While the Cardinal and Gold faithful are cheering, Traveler dashes
around the Coliseum as the band strokes the magical moment with the USC fight song, “Fight on.”
Former USC All-American defensive back and assistant coach Nate Shaw has seen the dramatic effect Traveler can
have on the game’s excitement on both ends.
“It definitely got the adrenaline going when I was playing, and I still think it has an effect on the players,” the former
Trojan said. When I was coaching against USC (at Oregon State) we hated to see that horse come down the tunnel
because it got USC a little more pumped up.”
The line of Traveler mascots first rode into Trojan athletic traditions in the early 1960s. Traveler I was half-Arabian, half-
Tennessee Walker and served the USC program through the 1966 season. He also appeared in the movies with the
late actor Leo Carillo (The Cisco Kid) and was the brother of the Lone Ranger’s Silver. USC’s first horse died in 1975 at
the age of 33.
Traveler II, a Tennessee Walker served as the mascot for nearly 10 years before he was forced into retirement in the
mid-1970s with a leg injury. The next horse out of the USC stables was Traveler III, a 151/2 hand high Arabian that was
a professional show horse.
The original rider of the Trojan horses was Richard Saukko, whose career spanned from 1961-88. The first time that
Saukko appeared on Traveler, he was in the costume that Charlton Heston wore in the movie “Ben Hur.” However the
costume exited stage left when it was deemed too bulky. Saukko crafted his own leather costume that he patterned
after the Tommy Trojan statue on USC’s campus. He did continue to wear Heston’s helmet sometimes.
When Traveler I made his initial gallop around the Coliseum, it wasn’t the first time that USC sports officials had
developed horse sense. The original horse sighting at a USC game was as early as 1927. A brief equine appearance
on behalf of the Trojans was made in the 1940s and Bob Caswell and his white horse, Rockazar performed some in
USC even went to the dogs in the 1940s. A mutt named George Tirebiter I, first barked for the Trojans in 1940. The
unofficial school mascot who loved to chomp on car tires while they were moving, survived a dog napping in 1947 at the
hands of UCLA fans. George was unscathed by the incident except for the UCLA letters that had been shaved in his
hair. A USC blanket helped disguise George’s shame. The dog’s life ended tragically in 1950, when George Tirebiter
apparently bit off more than he could chew, and was run over by a car. The canine was followed by three more
Georges, before the last Trojan bark faded away.
|Wisconsin Game Day Traditions, the 5th QuarterUSC Trojans Game Day Traditions, Mascots,
Nicknames & More
USC Nickname: Trojans
The Trojan nickname took its first steps when Warren Bovard, director of athletics and son of university president Dr.
George Bovard, asked Los Angles Times sports editor Owen Bird to choose a more suitable nickname. Bird was
later quoted by USC sports officials on how he selected Trojans to symbolize the school.
“At this time, the athletes and coaches of the university were under terrific handicaps,” explained Bird. “They were
facing teams that were bigger and better-equipped, yet they had splendid fighting spirit. The name ‘Trojans’ fitted
“I came out with an article prior to a showdown between USC and Stanford in which I called attention to the fighting
spirit of USC athletes and named them ‘Trojans.’ From then on, we used the term ‘Trojan’ all the time and it stuck.”
Campus Landmark: A Trojan That Needs Protection
The center of USC's campus is the site of one of the most famous collegiate landmarks in the country. That's where
Tommy Trojan, a bronzed Trojan warrior statue stands as a symbol of the university's fighting spirit.
Tommy was unveiled in 1930 and is a composite of many USC football players from the the late 20s. The sculptor
Roger Noble Burnham, made more than 100 paintings of Trojan football players, but used the features of 1930 Rose
Bowl MVP Russ Saunders and All-American Erny Pinckert as his main source.
The statue features a muscular body in battle dress items such as a Trojan helmet, shield and sword. Inscribed on
the statue's base is "The Trojan", the university's seal, and just below are words describing the ideal Trojan: "Faithful,
Scholarly, Skillful, Courageous and Ambitious."
As fine as those qualities are, Tommy Trojan has witnessed behavior of opposite extremes
through the years. The warrior statue has come under attack so much during the week preceding the UCLA game
that its amazing USC hasn't tried to prosecute Bruin fans for war crimes. Here is how the charges would read:
1. Stealing Tommy's expensive brass sword so often that USC has switched to a wooden one to help cut costs.
Bruin fans are also charged with malice for welding Tommy's sword to the statue's back.
2. Painting Tommy, blue and gold (UCLA colors) on a regular basis since 1941. Maintenance crews now cover him
with plastic and canvas during UCLA week.
3. Attempting to drop manure on the statue from a helicopter.
4. Cruelty to animals, for painting USC's mascot horse blue and gold.
|USC's Top Rivalry: No Love Lost Between The Trojans and Bruins
The heated USC-UCLA crosstown rivalry has added many added dimensions. Since USC is a private school, Bruin
faithful have insulted what they perceive to be a silver spoon USC campus mentality. Blue and Gold UCLA bumper
stickers and buttons have refereed to the school as, 'USC--University of Social Climbers"; or "USC--University of
Quick to attack UCLA's publicly funded, more blue-collar atmosphere, USC has fired back with printed slogans such
as, ''My maid went to UCLA," and "I used to go to UCLA until my father got a job,"
The winner of the annual USC-UCLA wins possession of the Victory Bell. The 295- pound bell once clanged from
atop a Southern Pacific freight locomotive, But now serves as
a traveling trophy.
USC Gameday Traditions
A common sound heard at athletic events across the nation is the trumpet "Charge." In stadiums across the
country, the cheer has been echoed by millions of fans hoping to inspire the home team.
Tommy Walker, a post-World War II USC student was the composer. As a member of the University's marching
band, he was referred to as "Tommy Trojan." The USC football got a kick out of his performances on more than
one occasion during the 1947 season. Walker would discard his band uniform, run onto the field and kick extra
points. His football efforts earned him a letter that year.
Upon his graduation in 1948, Walker further developed a notable career by becoming USC's band director.
Walker would later become Disneyland's first entertainment director before becoming one of the world's leading
creators of stunning show business spectacles. His biggest events included Super Bowl halftimes and
Olympic opening and closing ceremonies. Walker
died in 1986.
HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD
Not only has USC made a tremendous impact on college football through the years, but the school's proximity to
the silver screen's movie lots has helped many Trojan players tackle film careers. USC knew Marion Morrison
as a tackle with Tme Grit, determination and a distinctive voice. The world would later know him as the
sensational John Wayne. Would "The Duke" have rustled up as much success, had he played his collegiate ball
Other notable entertainment careers for former Trojans included Ward Bond (Wagon Train), Mike Henry (played
Tarzan), Tim Rossovich (various movies), O.J. Simpson (Several movies and two trials), Anthony Davis (various
movies), Patrick Muldoon (Melrose Place), Brian Turk (various TV sitcoms and commercials), Nick Pappas
(doubled for Pat O'Brien in the movie, Knute Rockne--All-American) and Frank Gifford and Lynn Swann who after
brilliant NFL careers have made quite a mark on ABC Sports and Monday Night Football.
Several men associated with USC football have also enjoyed success behind the scenes. They include Irvine
"Cotton" Warburton (film editing of Mary Poppins), Aaron .Rosenberg (TV and movie producer), Jess Hibbs (film
and TV director), and producers Hilton Green and Barney Rosenzweig.
USC's marching band "The Spirit of Troy," has also received great play in the world of entertainment. Since it's
inception in 1880, the school's band has played for numerous American Presidents, appeared in multiple
movies, along with many TV shows and commercials. The band also recorded the title track of Fleetwood Mac's
1979 album, "Tusk."
Before suiting up as the "Duke"
and becoming a famous movie
star, Marion Morrison toiled as a
lineman for the Trojans before
assuming the name, John Wayne
|A Welcome Traveler
Since the 1960s, Trojan fans have
enjoyed watching Traveler gallop
with excitement following a USC
|Must See Landmark
The Tommy Trojan statue is a
source of great pride at the
University and is also targeted by
|USC Football is steeped in tremendous traditions that span decades as the University of Southern California has won
numerous national championships, Heisman Trophy winners and NFL legends. Along with excellence on the field, the
University is home to some of college football's best traditions.
The Trojan fight song's music was composed in
1922 by USC dental student Milo Sweet and Glen
Grant helped to write the lyrics. What first began
as an entry in a Trojan spirit contest, has gone on
to inspire generations of USC fans and American
soldiers at war. Legend has it that an American
task force in World War II, successfully stormed
the beaches of a Japanese held island as "Fight
On" blared from the deck of one of the transports.
The song has also had successful landings in
numerous recordings and movies.
The song was once used in a sinister manner by
USC students hoping to better arch rival UCLA.
The Trojan pranksters were able to tap into the
Bruins public address system and for hours,
verse after verse of "Fight on for Old SC,"
trumpeted across the UCLA campus.
|The famous USC cheerleaders urge the Southern Cal
faithful to "Fight On"!
|Dog Day Afternoon
Before the days of Traveler, USC
was represented by a dog mascot.