Weird California
Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

George Tirebiter

Map George Tirebiter
Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, California 90089

George Tirebiter at USC
George Tirebiter at USC

University of Southern California (USC) once had a string of dog mascots named George Tirebiter and his successors. A full on mutt, George Tirebiter was literally a stray dog that hung out on campus chasing cars, that was taken in by the student population. Some stories claim his owner lived nearby and passed away. George Tirebiter's first appearance at a football game was in 1940. At the time he was the unofficial mascot, but later became the official mascot on October 22, 1947 for which a parade was held. His last name originated from his practice of chasing cars along Trousdale Parkway, biting at their tires. He was all mutt, with the breeds that made him up being hard to classify from his appearance. Even canine experts had a hard time classifying what type of dog breeds he was made up of.

As an official mascot, Tirebiter lead the marching band at USC home football games, even once entering the stadium in an armored car. He was sadly kidnapped by UCLA about a week after he became the official mascot, on October 30th, 1947, during which time the UCLA students shaved their letters into him. He got his vengeance, though, when he bit their mascot, Joe Bruin, on the nose. Tirebiter also infamously chased after Oski, UC Berkeley's Golden Bear mascot. Other duties of the mascot involved posing with homecoming queens and riding in parade cars.

Tirebiter occasionally wore funny little hats and even sweaters. It is rumored that he had an official transcript, having achieved a GPA of 3.2 by taking such courses as Chasing Cats 101 and Biting Tires 270.

Tirebiter
Tirebiter
Tirebiter
Tirebiter
Tirebiter
Tirebiter

George Tirebiter I died in June 1950, ironically getting run over while staying on a farm, with a memorial ceremony being held on September 22, 1950. On September 28th, 1950 George Tirebiter II became the new mascot, making his official first appearance at a USC - Iowa game the next day. He lasted about three years. George Tirebiter III then held the office, followed by a George Tirebiter IV, but III and IV generally had behavior issues at the games. In 1961, USC took on Traveler, a horse as their new mascot.

In 2006, a statue was installed on campus commemorating all the George Tirebiter mascots, although the statue actually looks like George Tirebiter II. It is part of a bench, has a small piece of chewed tire sitting in front of the canine, along with a stack of tires topped by a football. During the week before the annual UCLA game, a cardinal and gold doghouse is built around the statue in order to help protect it from vandals from the rival school. Rumor has it you can buy a stuffed Tirebiter in the college's gift shop.

Al Wiggins (USC Student Body President): "From the gutters of University Avenue and the alleys of Jefferson Boulevard came this scroungy mutt, whose spirit captured the imagination of 15,000 students [and] epitomized the spirit of Troy."

Tirebiter
Tirebiter
Tirebiter
Tirebiter
Tiffany says hi to Tirebiter
Tiffany says hi to Tirebiter

Last Edited: 2018-08-26


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