Lost Traditions

Throughout Vandal history there are many traditions that have fallen by the wayside.  Here are a few of those lost traditions:

Battle of the Palouse – The Idaho-WSU football game used to be a big deal in this region.  There were minor acts of vandalism – spray painting school colors on the opponents campus, burning an “I” or “W” into the oppositions turf – that only added to the rivalry.  These things still happen on many campuses around the country (Michigan State students guard Sparty before their big game with Michigan, for example) but no longer on the Palouse.

Bill McGowan, Argonaut Sports Editor, takes a hike on

Bill McGowan, Argonaut Sports Editor, takes a hike on “Loser’s Walk”
Battle of the Palouse (Loser’s Walk). University of Idaho. (1938) #2-267-1.

Little Brown Stein Trophy – This trophy game has been on hold essentially since Idaho moved to FBS. Since Idaho rejoined the Big Sky Conference in 2018 the game has resumed.  Luckily for the Vandals, Idaho owns a significant series advantage.

The Little Brown Stein, seen here, following Idaho's 1942 victory over Montana

The Little Brown Stein, seen here, following Idaho’s 1942 victory over Montana

Governor’s Cup – After 4 decades without a missed game, Boise State decided to cancel the series.  The Broncos don’t want to travel to Moscow and Idaho wants a home-and-home setup.  Chalk up another lost opportunity.  Anyone who wonders why Idaho’s attendance suffers need only look to the list of these three games which are no longer played. The trophy, which was first awarded in 2001, appears to have replaced the “Gem Trophy” which was presented at the first meeting of the two schools in 1971 and awarded to the best team in the state (Idaho, BSU, ISU were all in the Big Sky Conference at the time). The last mention of the Gem Trophy was during Idaho’s legendary streak against Boise State. Edit: A 1992 mention of the trophy for the Idaho-ISU game.

Governor's Trophy

Governor’s Trophy

King Spud Trophy – Awarded annually to the winner of the Idaho-Idaho State basketball series, this trophy hasn’t been awarded in many years.  The “series” has been replaced by one annual meeting – sometimes.  The trophy was commissioned by the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and was put into competition in 1962 but has been lost to history.  In 1979 the Idaho State coach said it should go to the losing team as he described the trophy as “the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen“.

The results of the competition for King Spud are as shown:

1962: Tie/None     1970: Idaho State           1978:

1963: Idaho           1971:                                 1979: Idaho

1964: Idaho           1972:

1965: Idaho           1973: Idaho State

1966: Idaho           1974: Idaho State

1967: Idaho           1975: Idaho State

1968:                      1976: Idaho State

1969: Idaho           1977:

The very attractive King Spud Trophy

The very attractive King Spud Trophy

Southern Homecoming – Idaho used to play one annual game in Boise.  The game was usually against a team from Utah (Utah, BYU, Utah State) and the event was a big deal for the Vandal alumni in the capital city.  There was even a homecoming parade.  After Boise State became a four-year institution this tradition stopped.  Idaho’s abandoning of the Boise market has only recently begun to reverse with an annual basketball game being played in Boise.

Spokane Events – In the old old days (pre-PCC) Idaho used to play regular games in Spokane.  Most recently they played there out of necessity when Neale Stadium burned.  However, the Vandals also used to host events such as the football Spring Game in Spokane.  Some years, before the big game with Washington State, Idaho and WSU would hold a joint pep-rally to drum up support for the teams.  Idaho needs the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene market, and in modern times, has struggled with how best to cater to those fans.  When the game was a much bigger deal, Idaho and WSU constantly flirted with the idea of hosting the game in Spokane.

Pacific Coast Conference – Idaho fans should never forget about their proud history competing in the coast conference. In 1927 the  Vandal machine earned a share of this trophy, the Schwabacher Trophy.

Schwabacher Trophy

Schwabacher Trophy

Northwest Opponents – Gonzaga has dropped football, Whitman plays at a lower level, and the major research schools all rejoined the California schools in the Pac-12.  Idaho used to appear regularly on the schedules of Washington, Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State.  Since the Kibbie Dome has been in existence, Idaho has hosted only Oregon State, and only once.  Attendance and fan support continues to wane as a result of playing out of conference games against teams from out of the region.  At the very least, Idaho should be on Gonzaga’s basketball schedule, and should play at least one team from the Northwest each season in football. While in the Northwest Conference, Idaho competed with the Oregon and Washington schools for the John Barrett loving cup: a silver trophy awarded to the best team.

The John Barrett Loving Cup

The John Barrett Loving Cup

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