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Floyd is probably the best and funnest but Heartland is more important to each season
— Dan Welter (@Dan_Welter) May 22, 2018
ANSWER: This is a no-brainer. Not only is Floyd of Rosedale Iowa’s best traveling trophy, it’s the best traveling trophy in college sports.
In a condensed version of how Floyd of Rosedale became college football’s prize porker, Minnesota pulverized Iowa 48-12 in their 1934 meeting in Iowa City. After the game, Hawkeyes players accused the Gophers of unnecessarily roughing up African-American running back Ozzie Simmons. The day before their 1935 meeting, a quote attributed to Iowa Gov. Clyde Herring encouraged fans to take care of the Gophers should they rough up Simmons again.
The comment went viral in a matter of hours in the Upper Midwest, even without smart phones or Twitter. Eventually, Minnesota Gov. Floyd Olson tried to defuse the situation by wagering a Minnesota prized hog against one of Herring’s choosing. Herring agreed and in 1935, they played for a live hog. Minnesota won the game 13-6, and kept Floyd (named after the Minnesota governor) of Rosedale (Rosedale Farms near Fort Dodge, Iowa). The tension lifted between the rivals.
A year later, a statue was commissioned. The teams have played for the 98.3-pound bronze trophy for every season since 1936.
Which traveling trophy (not game) is most important to Iowa football?
— Land of 10 Iowa (@Landof10Iowa) May 22, 2018
Iowa also has trophy games with Iowa State, Wisconsin and Nebraska. The Cy-Hawk Trophy was born in 1977 when Iowa and Iowa State resumed action after a 43-year layoff. It hardly featured expert craftsmanship as a box of wood with a brass football player on top of it. The teams decided to replace it in 2011, and they were left with a bigger fiasco.
Iowa Corn sponsored the Cy-Hawk Series, and the new trophy featured a farm family with a basket of corn. For the first time in history, Iowa and Iowa State fans stood in unison to pan the same object. It was scrapped, an interim trophy was planned and a new one via fan vote was unveiled in 2012.
Iowa and Wisconsin played one another for more than 100 years before they finally gained their Heartland Trophy in 2004. As far as looks go, it has some character with a bull on top of it. The series has more value than the trophy, however.
Finally, the Heroes Trophy debuted in 2011 between Iowa and Nebraska. The most appealing part of the trophy is what it symbolizes. Each state recognizes a citizen hero “who are admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities.”
Anyone can nominate a hero, and one is chosen from each state. The heroes are honored at the game and have their names and hometowns etched on the trophy. In a series that has grown in intensity, the trophy shows the humanity on both sides of the Missouri River.
So to rate the trophies in order, I’d pick:
- Floyd of Rosedale
- Cy-Hawk Trophy
- Heartland Trophy
- Heroes Trophy
Read more Question of the Day answers about the Iowa Hawkeyes here.