The Cy-Hawk Game – Iowa’s Super Bowl.

Ah yes. The Cy-Hawk Game. The Iowa Hawkeyes vs. the Iowa State Cyclones. Today, this football game between two of Iowa’s three major universities has become a classic.

The 1977 Iowa-ISU football game in Iowa City renewed the series after a 43-year break.

Looking back, the very first Iowa-Iowa State football game dates to 1894, when Iowa State – then known as Iowa Agricultural College – beat Iowa 16-8 in Iowa City. The Cyclones won the first three meetings before the Hawkeyes went on a five-game winning streak from 1899-1905. 

In 1915 a few fans watched the Iowa-Iowa State (Ames) game from the telephone poles outside Iowa Field!

As you can see from the chart below, the series was rather sporadic between 1920 and 1934, and completely dropped from both school’s schedules for 43 years, until the two teams met once again in Iowa City, renewing the series in 1977.

Oct. 20, 1934Iowa State, 31-6Ames, IA
Nov. 4, 1933Iowa, 27-7Iowa City, IA
Nov. 20, 1920Iowa, 14-10Ames, IA
Nov. 22, 1919Iowa, 10-0Iowa City, IA
Nov. 16, 1918Iowa, 21-0Iowa City, IA
Nov. 24, 1917Iowa, 6-3Iowa City, IA
Nov. 18, 1916Iowa, 19-16Ames, IA
Nov. 13, 1915Iowa State, 16-0Iowa City, IA
Nov. 14, 1914Iowa, 26-6Ames, IA
Nov. 15, 1913Iowa, 45-7Iowa City, IA
Nov. 16, 1912Iowa, 20-7Ames, IA
Nov. 18, 1911Iowa, 9-0Iowa City, IA
Nov. 5, 1910Iowa State, 2-0Ames, IA
Nov. 13, 1909Iowa, 16-0Iowa City, IA
Nov. 23, 1907Iowa State, 20-14Ames, IA
Nov. 24, 1906Iowa State, 2-0Iowa City, IA
Nov. 24, 1905Iowa, 8-0Ames, IA
Oct. 29, 1904Iowa, 10-6Iowa City, IA
Nov. 1, 1902Iowa, 12-6Iowa City, IA
Oct. 18, 1901Iowa, 6-0Iowa City, IA
Oct. 27, 1899Iowa, 5-0Iowa City, IA
Nov. 5, 1897Iowa State, 6-0Iowa City, IA
Oct. 26, 1895Iowa State, 24-0Iowa City, IA
Oct. 1, 1894Iowa State, 16-8Iowa City, IA

Allow me here to tell you a great story from these earliest days of the Cy-Hawk Game…

Our story starts with the 1933 Iowa/Iowa State football game – held in Iowa City on Saturday, November 4. According to the November 3rd edition of the Ames Daily Tribune-Times (below) the winner of the 1933 game will be awarded a Victory Bell – which had just resurfaced in time to become the new traveling trophy for the winner of the Iowa/Iowa State game.

In the article, Arthur A. Smith – SUI’s acting superintendent of grounds & buildings and an engineering student at Iowa in 1913 – is quoted, saying the bell was used extensively in Iowa City during the early years of Iowa Field – especially at Iowa State/Iowa games. Read more about this famous bell here.

(P-0120) Here’s a very rare postcard – circa 1913 – picturing the Iowa football team playing in Iowa Field.

According to Smith, the popular Victory Bell suddenly disappeared immediately following the November 15, 1913 Hawkeye victory over the Cyclones.

Apparently, the ISU players and fans, frustrated with their embarrassing 45-7 loss, absconded with the bell, carrying it out of Iowa Field as the large crowd was celebrating on the field. At that point, the Cyclones toted the 125-pound bell up the hill – past Old Capitol (see map above) and quickly ducked into the SUI Student Union – Unity Hall – where they hauled their booty up the stairs – hiding it away in the building’s unused belfry!

Unity Hall – facing Old Capitol on N. Clinton Street – served as the Iowa Student Union from 1911-1913. Click here to read more about Unity Hall – Iowa’s first student union.

According to the 1933 article – The Victory Bell was only re-discovered that fall – when Unity Hall was razed – and now – November 1933 – the bell was being brought back into use as the new traveling trophy for the winner of the Iowa/ISU football game. BTW – Iowa won that game in Iowa City, 27-7, keeping our little bell at home.

Interestingly, because of rising tensions between the two schools, the Hawkeyes and Cyclones played only one more time after that 1933 game in Iowa City before taking a 43-year hiatus. The Hawks lost that 1934 game – 31-6 – but apparently The Victory Bell didn’t change hands as it was supposed to. We know that fact because, according to bell hobbyist, Del Gilmore, our little bell, once again went into storage – for nearly a decade – before reappearing at Iowa sporting events in the mid 1940’s – following WWII. A December 1945 edition of the SUI News Bulletin carried a story headlined: “Victory Bell Becomes New University of Iowa Tradition.”

Iowa’s Victory Bell – today – safely stored at Old Capitol in Iowa City! Click here to read more about our little SUI bell.

Apparently, by the early 1950’s, as Herky the Hawk became the focal point at Iowa football games, The Victory Bell went into hiding once more, staying quiet there in the bowels of Iowa Stadium (re-named Kinnick Stadium in 1972) until the dawn of the 21st century. And, as most of you know, by the time Iowa and Iowa State played football again (1977) a whole new traveling trophy had been created – leaving our little Victory Bell as only a distant memory. Read more here.

Enjoy the highlights of this 1977 Cy-Hawk classic in Iowa City.
Conceived and created as a traveling trophy by the Greater Des Moines Athletic Club, the Cy-Hawk trophy was first presented to the 1977 winner by Iowa Governor Robert D. Ray when the Iowa/ISU series was finally renewed. Obviously, after 43 years, The Victory Bell had been long forgotten.

So now, you know the ‘rest of the story’ about the very first Cy-Hawk trophy!

On Iowa! Go Hawks!

Iowa vs. Iowa State football: All-time series history, scores, notable games, Brenden Welper,, September 10, 2021

Mechanics Academy Victory Bell, Bob Hibbs, Johnson County IAGenWeb Project, July 12, 2003

Hawk-Cyclone Winner To Get Victory Bell, Ames Daily Tribune, November 3 1933, p 3

Tracing the 100-year legend of the stolen, lost, and rediscovered CyHawk “victory bell”, Travis Hines, Ames Tribune, September 12, 2019

Iowa-Iowa State Football Rivalry, Wkipedia

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