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50 Years of Traveler

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2011 marks the 50th anniversary of Traveler as USC's mascot.

Traveler-1.jpgNoble and powerful, Traveler has symbolized USC football over the last half century.  The snow white steed gallantly gallops around the Coliseum to celebrate every Trojan touchdown with "Conquest" as its eternal soundtrack.   

In 1961, Richard Saukko (photo right - click to enlarge) rode the original Traveler at a USC game for the first time after being persuaded by Bob Jani, then USC's director of special events, and Eddie Tannenbaum, then a student at Troy, after spotting him on the white horse at the Rose Parade.

Saukko performed the role as Trojan warrior for the next 27 seasons.  Current rider Hector Aguilar is the seventh man to raise his sword atop Traveler.

Of course, the horses have come and gone as well.  Traveler VII will lap the Coliseum in 2011 after every Matt Barkley touchdown pass.  And, the breeds have ranged from Arabian to Tennessee Walker to Andalusian, but they are always pure white.

USC alumnus Bill Tilley, and his wife, Nadine, ensured the future of the Trojan mascot in 2004 by setting up a permanent endowment to support Traveler. 

Click here to read Traveler's entire history.

Traveler-spear-Bruin.jpg

2 Comments

I am an USC alum and wondered if you might know the answer to a question on Traveler. Since Traveler's first appearnace was Fall 1961 and the Ben Hur won 11 Academy Awards in Spring 1960, was Ben Hur the event that gave Eddie Tannenbaum and Bob Jani the idea to put the Trojan warrior on a white horse? Any thoughts would be apprecaited.

Thanks,

Gary Frueholz
626-318-9436

Gary,

I have asked Eddie about this before (for a documentary about USC football history) and he claims there was no correlation. He saw Richard Sauko training the horse on campus and put two and two together thinking a white horse would be a unique, perfectly-fitting mascot. He said that the idea of a white horse just seemed right. The idea to use the Ben Hur costume came after.

-Dalton

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