Floyd is coming home

Floyd of Rosedale sculpture to be set up today in FD

-Submitted photo
The Floyd of Rosedale sculpture is shown on a trailer prior to its arrival in Fort Dodge. It will be set up today at the intersection of 10th Avenue North and 32nd Street.

A prodigious porker is about to take a place of honor in Fort Dodge.

The massive pig is a steel sculpture of Floyd of Rosedale, a Fort Dodge hog who became famous as the symbol of the football rivalry between the University of Iowa Hawkeyes and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.

The sculpture will be set in place today at the intersection of 10th Avenue North and 32nd Street. That location is very close to the site of the former Rosedale farm where the original Floyd lived.

The sculpture project has been in the works since 2019.

About $125,000 was raised for the project. No tax money was used.

Artist Dale Merrill, of Mount Vernon, was commissioned to create the likeness of Floyd. The sculpture of the pig is very similar to the Floyd of Rosedale traveling trophy the two universities battle for every year.

The sculpture is 14 feet tall and 15 feet long. City Councilman Dave Flattery, who has led the project, said the sculpture was eased out of the building where Merrill assembled it with just a half inch of clearance to spare.

The sculpture made its public debut last weekend in Solon during that community’s Beef Days festival. Flattery said the sculpture was placed on a trailer and was a parade float with the theme, “Missed the memo — Where’s the beef?” He said the float won the first-place prize in the parade.

Flattery said part of the intersection of 10th Avenue North and 32nd Street will probably be closed while the sculpture is put in place. He said a crane will be used to lift it “so pigs can fly.”

The sculpture will be on the northeast side of the roundabout intersection. Initial plans called for it to be placed in the middle of the roundabout. The new location is considered a safer one that will give people the opportunity to see the sculpture up close.

Bitter rivalry, prejudice led

to Floyd of Rosedale tradition

The origin of the Floyd of Rosedale tradition can be traced to a 1934 game between the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota.

All-American running back Ozzie Simmons, one of the few black players in major college football at the time, was a Hawkeye. The Minnesota players singled him out for some brutal hits on the way to winning the game.

In the runup to the 1935 game between the two rivals, Hawkeye fans were boiling with anger and Iowa Gov. Clyde Herring suggested that the fans would take action if the referees didn’t put an end to the attacks on Simmons.

To cool things down, Minnesota Gov. Floyd Olson bet Herring a live hog on the outcome of the game.

Minnesota won the game, 13-6. But by all accounts, it was a clean game and the players from both schools complimented each other after it was over.

Herring, however, had to pay up. He turned to Allen Loomis, the owner of Rosedale Farms just east of Fort Dodge, for a hog. He named the pig Floyd in honor of the Minnesota governor.


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