Until the 2010 season, the annual Iowa State-Iowa CyHawk football game was played with this trophy on the line:
Fairly boring, but not a terrible trophy overall. It doesn’t have the same “cool” factor as Paul Bunyan’s Axe, the Old Oaken Bucket, or the Jeweled Shillelagh, but it got the job done.
A new trophy was donated by the Iowa Corn Growers Association and introduced to the public during the Iowa State Fair in 2011. Dean Taylor, president of the Association, called it “a work of art that represents Iowans and their hard work.” The public began ridiculing the new trophy social media and in the local newspapers. Retired Iowa football coach Hayden Fry chimed in, saying, “The farmer, family and corn is all wonderful, but I don’t really get the relationship to a football game.”
This trophy, will definitely recognizing the state’s deep connection with agriculture and family, but Hayden Fry was right. This trophy has absolutely nothing to do with the football game, and isn’t a trophy anyone cares about fighting for (also, the Iowa football team isn’t really known for embracing agriculture and supporting farmers). Almost immediately, the new trophy was scrapped, and this temporary trophy was used for that season’s game while a new trophy was designed:
Eventually, a new trophy was designed, and is still in use today.
So, we’re right back where we started. A trophy that’s just fine. Not particularly exciting, but not nearly as bad as the family huddled around a bushel basket. Maybe someday we’ll have a sweet trophy to fight over, but hopefully the design committee will have different people next time.