clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Hawkeyes At Gophers: A History Of Floyd Of Rosedale

This Saturday in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Iowa Hawkeyes will do battle for the bronze statue known as Floyd of Rosedale. This is one of the few "trophy series" that the Gophers have a lead in, having won 40 of the previous 76 match-ups, losing 34 and tying with the Hawkeyes two times.

Floyd of Rosedale. . .and it's not "the" Floyd of Rosedale, but simply Floyd of Rosedale. . .came about as a wager between the governors of the states of Iowa and Minnesota back in 1935. The previous season, the Hawkeyes had accused the Gophers of some rough treatment of halfback Ozzie Simmons, one of the few black players in college football at the time, and the situation got even uglier the next year between fans of the Gophers and fans of the Hawkeyes. Gophers' head coach Bernie Bierman received a lot of threatening letters from Iowa fans, and required special police protection when the team got off of the train in Iowa.

So, in order to lighten the mood, Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson sent a telegram to Iowa Governor Clyde Herring to place a small wager on the 1935 contest. The telegram 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...I will bet you a Minnesota prize hog against an Iowa prize hog that Minnesota wins.

Herring accepted the bet, and the wager was on between the two teams. Minnesota went on to defeat Iowa in that contest by a score of 13-6, and Herring made good on his bet. The pig was donated by Allen Loomis, the owner of Rosedale Farms near Fort Dodge, Iowa, and was dubbed Floyd after Governor Olson.

The actual pig itself was given away by Governor Olson in an essay contest. Since the two schools could not continue wagering an actual, live pig, Olson commissioned sculptor Charles Brioscho to capture Floyd's image, which he did in the statue that we all know as Floyd of Rosedale today.

Floyd will be at TCF Bank Stadium this weekend. Hopefully the Hawkeyes won't have to make room for him on the trip back to Iowa City.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.