The Weird Rivalry Trophies That Texas Colleges Play For
Before week one of college football kicks off let's check out one of my favorite things in the sport. The weird rivalry trophies that a bunch of Texas colleges play for.
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Obviously the goal of a college football team is to host the championship trophy at the end of the season. However, throughout the season you may have a game where you hoist a...different trophy. These are to signify a rivalry game and a bunch of Texas schools play for some strange ones.
The Silver Spade
Known as the Battle of I-10 between New Mexico State and the University of Texas at El Paso. Since 1914-2022 the two schools have met 99 times to battle it out for...a shovel. That has been a thing since 1955, to make things weirder. In 1982 a brass spittoon was added as a second trophy.
The Bayou Bucket
Known to many as The Bayou Bucket Classic, when Houston and Rice go against each other. The two schools have played each other 44 times since 1971-2022. Since the schools are about five miles a part, they decided to play for a golden bucket.
Probably the most famous one I will talk about today. The Golden Hat for the Red River Shootout...excuse me Showdown (LAME NAME NOW) between Texas and Oklahoma. Since 1900 to 2022 the schools have met 118 for games. The game is now played in Dallas every year at the Cotton Bowl. The hat was actually made by the folks at the State Fair of Texas back in 1929 to thank the two schools for bringing so much attention to the annual state fair. Fun fact, it actually wasn't gold until 1970's. It was bronze before that. An official trophy holder was made for the hat in 1941, but players still take it off to wear after the game.
This rivalry is actually making a comeback this year. Rice and SMU have played each other 90 times since 1916 to 2012. The trophy is actually fairly new, established in 1998. Why is it called the Mayor's Cup? Bragging rights for the Mayor of either Dallas or Houston where the two schools are located.
The Iron Skillet
Probably my favorite trophy on the list. Given to the winner of the TCU and SMU game. From 1915 to 2022 the two schools have met 101 times. Allegedly the trophy dates back to a pregame tailgate in 1946. An SMU fan was grilling up frog legs before the game and a TCU fan saw this and took offense. The two allegedly said whoever won the game got the skillet. Word on the bet got down to the two teams and they have been playing for a skillet for decades now.
Southwest Classic Trophy
Pretty standard trophy here held by winner of Texas A&M and Arkansas. The two have met 79 times between 1903 and 2022. It's a nod to the old southwest conference the two teams used to play in. The game is now an annual event at AT&T Stadium home of the Dallas Cowboys whose owner Jerry Jones played for the Arkansas Razorbacks back in the day.
Wouldn't be Texas without another Cowboy related item. This one is given to the winner of TCU and Texas Tech. The schools have met 65 times between 1926 and 2022. Here's the problem with this one, in 1961 the saddle was introduced. In 1971, the saddle mysteriously disappeared. Someone made a new saddle back in 2017 and ever since then it has been back.
Let's complete the Cowboy outfit by adding some cowboy's spurs to the mix. Allegedly the first spurs were given by each chancellor at the school. They each have the symbol of each university on them. This is actually a fairly new 'trophy' wasn't established until 1996. The two teams have played each other 72 times between 1928 and 2022.
Alright, things get weird for this one. Stephen F. Austin and Northwestern State battle it out for this statue. Originally it was just a log and the winning school decided what to make a statue out of. Northwestern State won the first game back in 1961. They settled on a Native American statue to honor the tribes that founded the cities that each school was affiliated with.
Piney Woods Trophy
Are those actual guns on there? The winner gets this between Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston. Back in 1976 when the rivalry originally started the winning school got actual colt revolvers. These have since been lost over time, but the ones on the new trophy since 2007 are just replicas.
Who is Durley Knicks? Well two separate people. Alexander Durley is the winningest head football coach in Texas Southern football history. Billy Nicks, Sr. won five black college national championships (last being in 1968) as head coach at Prairie View A&M. The two schools honor the best coaches in their school's history with a trophy.
I actually love the story behind this one. Back in 1998, Texas State and Nicholls University had their game flooded out. The schools said you would have needed a boat and paddle to attend the game. Ever since, the schools have been fighting for a paddle.
West Texas A&M and Eastern New Mexico battle for a wagon wheel? No real reason behind it. The two schools were developing a rivalry and both administrations settled on a wagon wheel as the traveling trophy.
Border Claw Trophy
This one is the scariest on the list. The Battle of the Border Claw. East Texas Baptist and Louisiana Christian battle for this scary ass thing. Since both schools use big cats as their team name, that is why they have the trophy.
I am sure I have missed one, but if you know of any others let me know.