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The ‘Real’ History Behind ‘Floyd Of Rosedale’

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The annual battle for the pig takes place at TCF Bank Stadium this weekend as the Minnesota Gophers battle the Iowa Hawkeyes for the “Floyd of Rosedale” trophy. But the history behind the border battle is about more than just a bronze statue. 

It all started after a Minnesota versus Iowa game in 1934. Race was a large issue at the time and Hawkeye fans said the Gophers purposely “roughed up” their star player, a black halfback named Ozzie Simmons. The Gophers denied it and went undefeated that season.

“We were the kind of a squad, the kind of a team, that didn’t feel that anybody, any team, could lick us,” said star quarterback Babe LeVoir.

In an effort to ease the tension between the two teams the following year, then Minnesota Gov. Floyd B. Olson made a bet with Iowa Governor Clyde Herring.

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Samantha Smith Reports

“They got together, Floyd B. Olson, and Floyd offered a living pig as a prize,” LeVoir said.

The Gophers won 13-7 and the following week, Gov. Herring delivered a hog to St. Paul. They named him “Floyd” after Gov. Olson and Rosedale because of where the pig was born.

That’s when the real “Floyd of Rosedale” then ended up at Donald Gjerdrum’s family farm.

“Dad was the purchaser of it because he was in the purebred hog business,” said Gjerdrum.

Gjerdrum was a teenager at the time and said the bronze statue made to look like Floyd is nearly identical. Each year around this time people tend to ask him about the “real” Floyd story. 

“I’m 90 years old and I’ve got a lot of relatives and friends around here who still are quizzing me about this. It’s as though something new they didn’t know about,” said Gjerdrum.

Unfortunately, the living “Floyd of Rosedale” wasn’t vaccinated, something that came as a surprise to Gjerdrum’s father, who assumed since it came from the university it would be up-to-date on its shots.  Living Floyd died of cholera just eight months after making headlines, but the “Floyd of Rosedale” trophy tradition lives on.

This year’s battle for the Floyd of Rosedale kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at TCF Bank stadium.

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