It had been 1977, brand new few days of annual competition recreations game anywhere between Clemson and the brand new College or university away from South carolina, the season out-of “New Catch,” when Steve Heavier ’79 hit Jerry Butler ’80 so you’re able to victory for the the last few mere seconds.
Zan Wells still becomes happy whenever she discusses they. “It was my idea,” she states, “color Tiger Paws regarding Greenville of up to Columbia.”
Their own husband, Joel Wells ’57, purchased toward tip, and additionally they started work. Zan generated stencils of brownish kraft paper; they identified the correct Sherwin-Williams paint colour of tangerine. They looked at from the suggestion inside their driveway.
Joel stored an event out of other alumni and you will loved ones have been similarly enthusiastic – in the Escape Inn on the We-twenty six within the Clinton. The guy and you will Zan marketed kraft paper templates of your own Tiger Paw together with decorate requirements. A few days up until the game, new layouts had been shared with more substantial classification which have rigorous directions.
50 brief groups was tasked each one or a few weird-designated kilometer indicators between Mauldin and you may Columbia, which have instructions becoming from the their designated kilometer marker at the dos an excellent.meters., prepared to painting a beneficial Tiger Paw in the exact middle of brand new right-hands lane regarding I-385 and that i-twenty-six.
The initial paw when you look at the Mauldin is assigned to Joel’s sibling Jimmy Wells ’54. Considering Zan, Jimmy and Buddy Wallace ’56 hit their attraction, parked and you may had the equipment out in the event that Mauldin Cops drove up and asked about whatever they was basically doing.
“Altering vehicle operators” is actually this new short response, plus they tossed what you back to the automobile. Sometime spooked, it did not go back to find yourself.
Immediately following you to, my personal phone rang, and you may trustee emeritus Allen Wood requested, “However, which are the facts on the when Tiger Paws was painted right out-of Greenville in order to Columbia?
Thus Zan and you may Joel painted this one when they complete liker det its own project. “Next we drove as much as Columbia to ensure they were every painted,” claims Zan.
Cal McMeekin ’65 ended up being tasked the last distance marker future toward Columbia to your We-twenty six. He had been waiting. He previously taken a beneficial jigsaw and you will a layer from step three/4-inches plywood and you will made use of the brownish paper stencil to manufacture an excellent durable plywood stencil. “Which have a decorating roller,” he states, “you can lay you to down on the latest roadway and then have they carried out in 15 to 20 mere seconds.”
That very first paw went so quickly they chose to endure – “off Huger Street, to Bluff Road, as well as on to your arena.”
These were armed with CB radios, and each team got a single-day “handle” to recognize their venue and you may statement achievement
“We painted the next paw at the conclusion of I-126 where Elmwood Opportunity forks out over the newest remaining,” says McMeekin. “About a distance off Huger Path i put a third paw.” Because they was in fact completing you to third paw, they realized that these were almost directly in side of Richland County Sheriff’s Service and county prison.
“I discovered it was not the fresh wisest issue to own a great 34-year-dated which have a wife and you can family unit members getting starting,” claims McMeekin. “The following day, the final paw on the Huger Path appeared in The state paper as well as a narrative towards paintings.” You to pictures however hangs from inside the McMeekin’s work environment in the their house.
It’s the types of prank you could potentially expect out of a team from students. However,, McMeekin claims, “These paws were not decorated by pupils, but by the thirty five- in order to 50-year-olds having a passion for Clemson and a soul having enjoyable.”
Editor’s notice: About fall 2022 situation, we ran a story concerning earliest Tiger Paws decorated towards the street leading to Clemson. You really need to chat to Cal McMeekin.”
One call been a procedure that has ended with this particular story – and you may all of our appreciation in order to Allen Wood for providing us with a tip.