Bruin Brawl

It’s perhaps the most baffling of campus traditions. In an instant, the “flash” of a stuffed bear (“Bruin Jr.”) sparks pandemonium. Students collide in a scrum, mud often covering their bodies, in an attempt to grab the Bruin Jr. and be the first to get off campus with it.

It’s called Bruin Brawl, and it’s been going on for more than a century.

In one case, the leather bear was dropped from a helicopter. In another, a university president faked an injury only to reveal Bruin Jr. from an ambulance. The bear once suddenly appeared during chapel, prompting a stampede mid-sermon.

Check out the video and timeline below to see how Bruin Jr. has made his mark on campus culture over the decades.

Watch video: What is the Bruin Brawl?

Bruin Jr. Timeline

The OG bruin


The Original Bruin

An orphaned bear cub is adopted and nurtured by faculty until its death, at which point it is turned into bear steaks and eaten. Afterward, a stuffed animal is made in its honor.

1929 senior sneak


Birth of a Tradition

In the late 1890s, senior class students begin stealing the taxidermied bear skin from the campus museum to show it off on their class day, known as “flashing the bear.” Soon after, other classes begin to attempt stealing it, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Predictably, the bearskin begins to fall apart, so a new one is made. From that point on, flashes and brawls become the new tradition.

1930 bear and brawl


A Prized Possession

The class in possession of the bear has to come up with creative ways to keep it hidden to prevent it from falling into the hands of another class. Rules stipulate, however, that "it cannot be locked in any container, car, or any other such object, and that it not be kept in anyone's dorm room, apartment or academic building."

1962 storm


Columbus Day Storm

Bruin Brawl takes place during the infamous Columbus Day Storm. Legend has it that the struggle took place “amid falling trees.”

Ken Kumasawa


Carpal Diem

Ken Kumasawa jumps out of a Minthorn Hall window on a broken leg when Bruin Jr. is flashed outside on the quad.

longest bruin brawl


Longest Bruin Brawl

Record for the longest Bruin Brawl. It lasts from late morning until dusk. Students take shifts brawling between classes and meals.

1970 logo evolution


Bruin Adopted as Mascot

Bruin nickname officially adopted as our mascot. Shown here is the evolution of the George Fox mascot. At far left is the first unofficial mascot “Foxy George” from the 1950s and 1960s. The Bruin became the mascot for the school officially in the 1970s.

bruin jr collection


From Old to New

Word is that the worn-out remains of an old Bruin Jr. is placed inside a new leather Bruin Jr. There have been various Bruin Jrs. over the years, some made of canvas, some made of leather. Many have never been recovered and are still being held by alumni.

1973 helicopter


Free Fall

Bruin Jr. is flashed from a helicopter and dropped into a crowd of students (since then, Bruin Jr. has been dropped from a helicopter six to eight times).

1983 etiquette


Making a Comeback

The Bruin Brawl is brought back after a short break from the tradition. Students learn Bruin Jr. etiquette in dorm meetings in order to participate. Among the rules: Bruin Jr. may not be off campus for more than 24 hours, and he cannot be taken from campus in a motor vehicle.

1993 australia


Bruin Abroad

Bruin Jr. has taken trips to Italy, Germany, Switzerland, France and England, where a British royal guard signed its belly. Here, he's shown on a student trip in Australia.

1995 runner and group


Serious Competitors

Bruin Brawl is taken very seriously this year. Those classes that win possession of the prized trophy often take the time to showcase their accomplishment with a group photo. Yes, this is a big deal.

1998 helicopter


"Beary" Long Drop

You never know when and from where the bear will make an appearance. See a helicopter in the sky? Be prepared for possible mayhem.




George Fox President Dave Brandt fakes an ankle injury and an ambulance is “called,” only to have Bruin Jr. flashed on a paramedic’s gurney before the eyes of concerned students. This resulted in an all-out war.

2007 brawl dance party


Dancing in the Street

A three-hour Bruin Brawl among 50 people and 100 spectators ends at 10:30 p.m. with a dance party in the middle of the street.

today students


Still Going Strong

Bruin Brawls are prearranged and supervised, and teams are coordinated by living area.