Traveling back to Iowa this weekend, and so I've been keeping abreast of current affairs in the land of my birth. Forget straw polls and caucuses (cauci?): the topic consuming Iowa airwaves is... the Cy-Hawk trophy.
Background: the University of Iowa (nee State University of Iowa) and Iowa State University (nee Iowa State College, nee nee Iowa State Agricultural College and Model Farm) have a long and spirited rivalry in football going back to 1894. So spirited, in fact, that following widespread fan violence the series was suspended in 1934. After a 43 year time-out, the Hawkeyes and Cyclones resumed the series in 1977; to commemorate the renewal, a traveling trophy was created, dubbed the "Cy-Hawk Trophy."
Behold this masterwork of the trophycrafter's art:
Yes. I know. Your junior high school had better trophies. So did mine. An embarrassment to say the least, especially as the Hawkeyes also compete for arguably the finest of all college football traveling trophies - the beloved Floyd of Rosedale, the mighty bronze pig awarded to the winner of the Iowa-Minnesota game.
Now that's what I'm talking about.
Mercifully, the original Cy-Hawk trophy was, um, "misplaced" by Iowa's athletic department following the Hawkeyes' win last September. Thus the Iowa Corn Growers Association commissioned a sculptor to design a new Cy-Hawk trophy, and revealed it at the state fair in Des Moines earlier this month.
Feast your eyes - if you dare.
There are so many words I could say here, but I will simply let the good folks at Black Heart Gold Pants provide the art criticism.
Mercifully, the new Cy-Hawk was consigned to the dustbin of some unfortunate Hy-Vee before it had the chance to spoil the big game. Which leaves a question: what to use for a trophy?
Allow me a chance to save the day - via my dad.
See, Dad is a taciturn retired Iowa corn farmer. Small town salt of the Earth. He put one kid through Iowa, and one through Iowa State. When it comes to the Iowa-ISU game he maintains strict neutrality. And, as luck has it, he is an avid collector of vintage corn shellers:
Being a patriotic Iowan with ties to both universities, I believe I can persuade Dad to part with one of his old shellers to act as a trophy. Shall we say a 1890s-era Blackhawk? Simple, timeless, sturdy - like the "Old Oaken Bucket" of Purdue-Indiana, "Paul Bunyan's Axe" of Minnesota-Wisconsin, or the "Little Brown Jug" of Michigan-Minnesota.
Any interest, Iowa Corn Growers Association? You know where to find me.