Turkey Tussle Tradition Will See Change Next Season

Published : Monday, February 11, 2019 | 6:20 AM

The 73rd Turkey Tussle, When longtime and crosstown rivals Pasadena High School and John Muir High School battle for the Victory Bell and for bragging rights for the next 365 days, will not be in November or October this year.

It will be held on Friday, August 23, 2019 at 7 p.m. at the Rose Bowl, the first game of the football season, according to a Facebook post by one of John Muir’s prominent alumni, who called it “a new twist on a long-standing tradition of pride!”

“Yes, you read that right…John Muir High School and Pasadena High School will kick off their 2019 Football season with the FIRST game being the Turkey Tussle,” said Jill Hawkins, who co-owns event coordinating company Miller Hawkins Productions LLC in Sierra Madre. Hawkins made the post on the John Muir High School Alumni Association’s Facebook page.

Hawkins said the decision to change the date was made after discussions with both Pasadena High and John Muir High school officials.

“It was determined that it was more important for our students to play in the Rose Bowl than to maintain our traditional date at another venue such as Pasadena City College,” she wrote. “This year’s scheduling has been more difficult than 2018! Because UCLA plays 2 home games in a row there would not enough time to mend the field for their use if we play in between and player safety was a concern.”

None of the two schools have released official statements about the change.

The Turkey Tussle is the annual homecoming tradition between Pasadena High School and cross-town rival John Muir High School. It has traditionally been played near Thanksgiving weekend, hence the name. Last year, it was played on Friday, October 26, with the John Muir Mustangs winning over the PHS Bulldogs, 33-14.

The tradition began in 1947 when the game was played between Pasadena Community College and John Muir Junior College. These two schools played until 1953.  Since 1954, the annual rivalry has been played between what is now Pasadena High School and John Muir High School.

Hawkins said there were several people who worked behind the scenes so that the two teams could continue the tradition of playing in the Rose Bowl.

“We would like to thank the Rose Bowl Stadium team for working closely with us to ensure that the Turkey Tussle will be played in the Rose Bowl,” she wrote. “We hope that all of you will come out and support these teams in their first game. We are looking forward to Alumni and Community coming from near and far.”