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Floyd is not just a pig

Famous porker is the symbol of a long-time football rivalry

Before he was famous, the pig who would be known as Floyd of Rosedale was just another hog waddling around a farm east of Fort Dodge.

Then there was a high profile college football game. Not long after the fnal whistle blew on that game, the governor of Iowa took Floyd to Minnesota and the once unknown porker became a legend that continues to this day.

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 acounts, 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.

University of Iowa fans have for years seen triumphant Hawkeye football players carrying a hefty statue of Floyd of Rosedale any time they defeated the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in the annual game between the two rivals. But few know the origin of Floyd of Rosedale or that he came from Fort Dodge.

That will soon change. A committee is calling new attention to the local roots of Floyd of Rosedale. The centerpiece of its efforts will be a statue of Floyd that will grace the roundabout at 32nd Street and 10th Avenue North.

The group is led by Councilman Dave Flattery and it includes Councilman Terry Moehnke; Shelly Bottorff, executive director of the Fort Dodge Fine Arts Association; Jennifer Dutcher, art program coordinator at Iowa Central Community College; Scott Johnson, president of Kallin-Johnson Monument Co. Inc.; and Carissa Harvey, the city’s strategic planner.

That committee has selected Dale Merrill, of Mount Vernon, to create the sculpture. It is currently seeking donations to pay for it.

We’re thankful that this volunteer group is calling attention to a fascinating but little known aspect of Fort Dodge history. The fact that they’re doing it without spending any of the taxpayers’ money makes it even better. It is a fine project to do during the year in which we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Fort Dodge city charter.