Saturday, November 18, 2006

Floyd of Rosedale

Speaking of pigskin, today the Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated Iowa for the first time since 2000 by a score of 34-24, bringing Floyd of Rosedale back to the Twin Cities. The competition for Floyd goes back to 1935, when the rivalry between Minnesota and Iowa was particularly heated. The morning of the game, Minnesota governor Floyd Olson sent a telegram to Iowa governor Clyde Herring that read as follows:
Minnesota folks are excited about your statement about the Iowa crowd lynching the Minnesota football team. I have assured them that you are a law abiding gentleman only trying to get our goat. The Minnesota team will tackle clean but hard. Clyde, if you seriously think Iowa has any chance to win, I will bet you a Minnesota prize hog against an Iowa prize hog. You are getting odds because Minnesota raises better hogs than Iowa.
Minnesota won a hard fought game in Iowa City 13-6, so Herring obtained a prize pig from Rosedale Farms, nicknamed it Floyd, and personally walked him into Olson's carpeted office several days later (see photo above). Olson later offered up the pig as a prize in a state-wide essay writing contest. Floyd was won by 14-year-old Robert Jones, who later sold the pig to my graduate alma mater, the University of Minnesota. Floyd was later sold again, this time to a hog breeder on the Iowa-Minnesota border. Floyd died there of "hog cholera." Olson commissioned Charles Brioschi, a St. Paul-based artist, to sculpt the Floyd trophy (which can seen on the Minnesota Public Radio page, which has a great story about the original game, which had a lot to do with race, as Iowa featured a pioneering black player, Ozzie Simmons), which is now headed back to Minnesota. Go Gophers!


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