Fans critical of new Cy-Hawk trophy

Fans critical of new Cy-Hawk trophy

Published Aug. 23, 2011 1:36 a.m. ET

Fans, a former coach and the governor all are unhappy with the new Cy-Hawk trophy awarded to the winner of the annual football game between Iowa and Iowa State.

''I think they can do better,'' Gov. Terry Branstad chuckled Monday when asked about the trophy. ''I'm sure they're going to take another look at that.''

Critics seem to find the trophy of a farm family around a bushel of corn and a corn stalk a little bit, well, corny. Since its unveiling Friday at the Iowa State Fair, the trophy has been widely panned and compared to a garage sale leftover or a fireplace mantle centerpiece.

Newspaper and television websites have been filled with people unhappy about the new trophy, which was sponsored by the Iowa Corn Growers Association. Former coach and Hawkeye legend Hayden Fry said the trophy is ''nice looking,'' but it doesn't relate to football.


''The farmer, family and corn is all wonderful, but I don't really get the relationship to a football game,'' he told The Des Moines Register.

Others were less diplomatic.

''Gosh, you don't suppose it's advertising?'' asked Bob Uetz, an Ames High School teacher who helped renew the football series in 1977. ''That thing is awful, my God.''

Mike Ellis, who makes trophies for American Awards in Des Moines, said the new Cy-Hawk trophy was ''a little weird for a sports trophy.''

''Seems like something you'd see at the state fair,'' he said.

Mindy Williamson, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Corn Growers Association, said the group has received ''quite a few'' e-mails and Twitter messages about the trophy, noting they aren't all bad.

''We're taking in both positive and negative comments and digesting it for now and we're going to follow up later this week,'' she told The Associated Press. ''We're not turning our heads to this, we're taking it in and listening and trying to figure out what's best.''

The Corn Growers and universities said late Monday that they would hold a news conference Tuesday about the trophy. Steve Roe, a University of Iowa athletics department spokesman, said school officials wouldn't discuss the matter until then. A message left with the Iowa State athletic department wasn't returned Monday.

Two Facebook sites were immediately launched protesting the trophy. One, ''Hate the new Cy-Hawk Trophy,'' had nearly 300 members in less than a day. Twitter messages published by the Iowa City Press-Citizen call the trophy ''ugly'' and some called for it to be redone.

Not everyone hated the trophy.

''I think it's beautiful,'' said Vicky Johnson, director of retail sales at Iowa-based Isabel Bloom, the maker of concrete figurines. ''I'm not a football fan but it's a beautiful sculpture.''

Mike Baumann, a dairy farmer from the northern Iowa town of Buffalo Center, also supported the trophy.

''It's odd. But the country was based on farming at one time,'' said Baumann, an Iowa grad.