FORT DODGE, Iowa — A few years ago the City of Fort Dodge dedicated a new aquatic center on the town’s east side. It is called “Rosedale Rapids.” It was named after a nearby farm and athletic trophy legend, Floyd of Rosedale. That, for Hawkeye fans, is a well-known rivalry trophy between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The committee in Fort Dodge provided a historical account of how the trophy came to be:
In 1934, the University of Minnesota football team came to Iowa City to play football. The Gophers won the contest 48-12. But it wasn’t just the score which got the Hawkeye team angered at the Gophers. During the contest, the Gophers used excessive force on one of the Hawkeye players, running back and safety Ozzie Simmons. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 1988, Simmons said he sustained bruised ribs from late hits and piling on.
“I had a feeling they were after me because I was good,” Simmons told the Star Tribune. ” Oh, and I think me being black added a little oomph to it.”
The Hawkeyes stuck up for their teammate during a 19-0 victory over Illinois. Two Iowa players reportedly approached the Illini huddle to threaten the other team that if they didn’t knock it off, they would be run out of the stadium. That account came from Hawkeyes radio announcer, Ronald Reagan, who later became the President of the United States.
After getting Simmons roughed up, tension was mounting as the two teams prepared to meet again the following year.
“I would love to sit in the governor’s office in St. Paul or Des Moines the day that [Minnesota Governor] Floyd Olson made the call to Iowa Governor Clyde Herring to cool tempers and make the situation what it should’ve been, just a great college football rivalry,” said Gary Dolphin, the present day voice of the Iowa Hawkeyes on the radio. “The loser of that year’s game would have to pay for it with the hog, a prize hog, and of course it was delivered right from here in Fort Dodge [at] Rosedale Farms. It was delivered to Governor Olson.”
The hog would later be sent to a farm, where it passed away and was buried. Governor Olson commissioned a St. Paul artist to produce a permanent trophy for the game. Thus the trophy “Floyd of Rosedale” was awarded each year to the victorious school.
“The purpose of the statue of Floyd is to maintain that legacy and to keep it here in Fort Dodge,” said Fort Dodge City Councilman Dave Flattery, who chaired the project. “It’s just a wonderful thing. It’s important for the University of Iowa, the University Minnesota and for the City.”
“Surveys have shown when you ask passionate college football fans what rivalry game or what traditional trophy game comes to mind first, Floyd won easily,” said Dolphin.
The City of Fort Dodge, along with the local Fort Dodge Foundation, have commissioned an artist to create a statue of the Floyd of Rosedale pig. It was erected in 2021, just in time for RAGBRAI. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Nov. 9, which included Hawkeyes announcer Gary Dolphin and former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.
Where the Floyd of Rosedale trophy will spend the year will be determined when the Golden Gophers visit Iowa City this Saturday. The Floyd of Rosedale statue is now part of the Fort Dodge landscape all year round.