The Cy-Hawk series — the annual rivalry between Iowa and Iowa State — has garnered a lot of attention with the recent unveiling of a new trophy by the Iowa Corn Growers Association last week.
The trophy, which depicts an Iowa family out in the corn fields, has seen overwhelming criticism, compelling Iowa Corn to change the trophy, as announced at a media event Tuesday.
Without the action of a couple fans more than 30 years ago, though, there would be no trophy to quarrel about.
"[Iowa and Iowa State] did not play each other for 43 years," said Bob Uetz, Ames High teacher and architect of the former Cy-Hawk Trophy. "In ‘77, we went up to the game. It was the first time they played in 43 years; there were a bunch of us that were obviously just very pleased and wanted to do something to promote it because at that point, it was very political."
After the 1977 game that ended the 43-year absence of the rivalry, which Iowa won 12-10, Uetz and a couple of his friends sprouted the idea of making a trophy for the series to legitimize the rivalry for years to come.
"We were just a group of fans that wanted to promote the series and wanted them to play every year," Uetz said. "We thought it was a great thing for the state, the fans, both schools and so on."
The group had trouble sanctioning the trophy for the series until learning then-Gov. Robert Ray's two daughters attended both schools separately.
"He'd sit on one side of the stands the first half and the other side of the stands the second half," Uetz said. "We thought, ‘Perfect, here's a popular governor not taking a stand one way or the other.'"
Uetz and Co. managed to get Ray to agree to present the trophy, which had been a staple of the series until this past year.
Hy-Vee had sponsored the series since 2004 until giving it up to Iowa Corn this past April.
Iowa Corn was presented with the opportunity to acquire the sponsorship of the series due to its success in its sponsoring of the Cy-Hawk Gameday tailgating event, said Kevin Ross, vice president of Iowa Corn.
Ruth Comer, spokeswoman for Hy-Vee, said both schools approached the West Des Moines-based company with the news that Iowa Corn had expressed interest in assuming the sponsorship of the series.
"We decided there were probably some other things we could probably do, maybe try to mix it up a little bit, just with different sponsorships," Comer said. "So at that time we said that was fine as long as they had another sponsor that we would do our sponsorship of the schools in a different way."
Even though Hy-Vee will be pursuing other interests, Ross had nothing but nice things to say about his company's predecessor.
"Hy-Vee did a commendable job of putting this series on a different level," Ross said. "We really respect what they did with the Cy-Hawk series."