Floyd of Rosedale
A project of the Floyd of Rosedale Planning Committee
Floyd of Rosedale History
It all started in 1934, when the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers played a college football game against the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa’s running back Ozzie Simmons, who was one of few black players at the time, was singled out to be hit with excessive force during a 48-12 home loss to Minnesota. It’s said that Simmons was knocked unconscious three times before leaving the game in the second quarter. Eleven years earlier, Jack Trice, who was the first black athlete at Iowa State College (now Iowa State University) died due to injuries suffered during a college football game against the Gophers.
When the time came for Iowa and Minnesota to face each other again in 1935, Iowa Governor Clyde Herring warned Minnesota not to pull the same stunts it had the prior year. The day before the game, Herring issued a statement that read: “The University of Iowa football team will defeat the University of Minnesota tomorrow. Those Minnesotans will find 10 other top-notch football players besides Ozzie Simmons against them this year. Moreover, if the officials stand for any rough tactics like Minnesota used last year, I’m sure the crowd won’t.”
Following, Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson sent a telegram to Governor Herring on game-day morning, which read, "Dear Clyde, Minnesota folks excited over your statement about the Iowa crowd lynching the Minnesota football team. I have assured them that you are a law-abiding gentleman and are only trying to get our goat. The Minnesota team will tackle clean, but, oh! how hard, Clyde. If you seriously think Iowa has any chance to win, I will bet you a Minnesota prize hog against an Iowa prize hog that Minnesota wins today. The loser must deliver the hog in person to the winner. Accept my bet through a reporter. You are getting odds because Minnesota raises better hogs than Iowa. My best personal regards and condolences”. Herring accepted. The Gophers won 13-6 without incident and Iowa star Ozzie Simmons played an injury-free game. Afterwards, the Minnesota players went out of their way to compliment Simmons, and Simmons praised the Gophers for their clean, hard-fought play.
Governor Herring obtained an award-winning prize pig which had been donated by Allen Loomis, the owner of Rosedale Farms near Fort Dodge, Iowa. Dubbed Floyd after Minnesota Governor Olson, the pig was the brother of Blue Boy from Will Rogers' movie “State Fair”. A few days following the game, Governor Herring collected "Floyd of Rosedale" and personally walked him into Governor Olson’s carpeted office.
Since the two schools could not continue wagering a live pig, Governor Olson commissioned Saint Paul sculptor Charles Brioschi to capture Floyd's image. The result is a 98 lb (44 kg) bronze pig trophy, 21 in (53 cm) long and 15 in (38 cm) high. Iowa and Minnesota have played for the Floyd of Rosedale every year since. The winner of the game is entitled to keep the trophy until the following year's contest.
The Floyd of Rosedale Planning Committee is working to situate a Floyd of Rosedale sculpture in Floyd of Rosedale Circle (10th Avenue North and North 32nd Street Roundabout), located near the historic location of Rosedale Farms. A Request for Proposals was recently released in order to commission an artist to design and install a creative interpretation (not a precise replica) of the trophy pig. Proposals are due Tuesday, April 9, 2019 and will be considered by the Floyd of Rosedale Planning Committee based on design, budget, and timeline.
The Public Art Coalition is currently seeking sponsors for the project - learn more about sponsorship opportunities here.