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With Iowa and Minnesota set to battle again, the famous bronze pig is up for grabs

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — Since 1936, the “Floyd of Rosedale” trophy has been handed out to the victor of the annual Minnesota vs. Iowa football game. The trophy has a storied tradition and each side desperately wants to walk away with the bronze pig after each contest.

It’s a historic rivalry between the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota. Some of it ugly, some of it beautiful, but most of all it’s defined by a bronze pig.

42-40-2. That’s just how close this Minnesota vs. Iowa rivalry has been since the “Floyd of Rosedale” trophy was introduced.

“It’s been a very close rivalry,” said Minnesota Gophers Historian, Ed Rauen.

The rivalry dates back to November 2, 1891, that’s the first time these two teams played, with Minnesota winning 42-4 in Iowa. In 1935 the series was forever changed when the “Floyd of Rosedale” was introduced.

“The governor of Iowa and the governor of Minnesota wanted to have a bet on the game way back in 1935. So they each bet a pig and from there on a bronze pig was traveling. Whoever got the win, got the bronze pig as the traveling trophy,” explained Rauen.

Then Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson made the wager with then Iowa Governor Clyde Herring to lighten the mood, with racial tensions high after Minnesota’s treatment of Iowa star Ozzie Simmons during their previous contest.

Minnesota ended up winning the game 13-6 and Herring followed through, delivering a prize pig named from Rosedale, Iowa, named “Floyd” to the Minnesota State Capital. Ever since the two sides have played for the 98lb bronze pig replica “Floyd of Rosedale.”

“It’s fun, you know all the trophy games are fun and special. All the games are special, but the axe, the pig, the bell, being able to play for those trophy games and those border battles. Especially Wisconsin and Iowa are just a really big deal and fun,” said Minnesota’s All-Time Leading Rusher and Current Radio Color Commentator, Darrell Thompson.

Thompson starred at John Marshall in Rochester, before continuing his stellar play football for the Gophers. Since 1982 Minnesota has only won twice in Iowa City. Once in 1999 and the other coming in 1989 Thompson’s senior year at Minnesota.

“Iowa was a tough one. It was fun and it was a blast and it always just means more, because not only is it a border battle, but you’re recruited against those guys too. So you meet them in visits, you hang out with them a little bit more, so it’s always a little bit more special when you’re playing those border battles,” continued Thompson.

Ed Rauen has covered Gopher sports for more than 40 years and remembers one of the craziest moments in the rivalry.

“I think it was 2002 in the Metrodome, Minnesota was playing Iowa. Iowa defeated Minnesota in the last game of the year to send them to the Rose Bowl and the fans stormed the field and pulled down the goal posts in the south end of the stadium,” explained Rauen.

While the series has mostly favored Iowa over the past three decades, Minnesota still holds the all time series advantage and the trophy series advantage.

“I can’t remember an easy game with Minnesota. One of our worst losses was in my opinion was [20]14 up there,” said Iowa Head Coach, Kirk Ferentz

Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck is still new to the rivalry and knows how difficult it will be to end their four game losing streak to the Hawkeyes,

“Iowa plays Iowa football. They’re gonna run efficiently, they take care of the football, they don’t beat themselves. Defensively they’re gonna tackle and keep everything in front, limit explosive plays and you know what they’re going to do, but they do it so well.”

It’s a rivalry game felt by the fans.

“You know what? We’re going to take Iowa down in their home stadium,” said Tom Truszinski.

The current players.

“We want to keep Floyd of Rose here in Iowa City,” said Mekhi Sargent.

“We gotta keep it here, we gotta keep the streak going,” said Iowa Linebacker, Djimon Colbert.

And the former players.

“This is bacon week. I will eat bacon every single day this week. It’s a tradition I started about probably 5 years ago. So I’ll eat it every day and I’ll tweet out and have some fun with it,” said Thompson.

Iowa has held the coveted 98lb bronze pig for four straight seasons, but on Saturday the 8th ranked Gophers (9-0) will look to bring it back to Minnesota, when they travel to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes (6-3).

A Minnesota win would bring them back the “Floyd of Rosedale” and put them one step closer to a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Holden Krusemark

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