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Iowa History Daily: November 9 - Floyd of Rosedale

Iowa History Daily: On November 9, 1935, the Iowa Hawkeyes lost to the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Iowa Governor Clyde L. Herring sent Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson a prize hog dubbed “Floyd of Rosedale” to settle a bet. An enduring tradition between the two schools, the story of Floyd of Rosedale provides a more complex look into early college football and racial dynamics in America.

During the year prior (1934) trouble arose after Minnesota clearly targeted Iowa’s African American halfback Ozzie Simmons. One of few Black players during the era, Simmions later recalled “what it amounted to was that they were piling on late hits.” With the memory of Iowa State’s first Black athlete, Jack Trice, dying of injuries inflicted by the Golden Gophers a little over a decade before, Iowa Governor Clyde Harring put Minnesota on notice.

“If the officials stand for any of the rough tactics like Minnesota used last year, I’m sure the crowd won’t,” Herring told reporters. Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson shot back: “Minnesota folks are excited over your statement about Iowa crowds lynching the Minnesota football team. I have assured them you are law abiding gentlemen and are only trying to get our goat…I will bet you a Minnesota prize hog against an Iowa prize hog that Minnesota wins.”

Although Minnesota prevailed in the ensuing match on the gridiron, a college football tradition linking the two schools came to pass when Allen Lomis of the Fort Dodge area donated a prize winning pig dubbed ‘Floyd of Rosedale’ to fulfill the bet between governors. With a bronze statue commissioned the following year to capture Floyd’s image, the schools compete for the immortalized hog each fall. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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