MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — 10 years ago, the Aggie Foundation leaned into the football rivalry between the Bishop Ryan Lions and the Velva Aggies by giving them more to compete over.
According to a news release, the Aggie Foundation donated a giant wood coin with both schools’ logos and the winner takes it home.
Wade Kittelson, an alumnus of Velva, NDSU, and current Aggie Foundation Board Member, is excited to celebrate 10 years of added fun to the matchup.
“This is a game we marked on our calendars growing up and still do. When we had the idea to add a traveling trophy to a rivalry, I wasn’t sure if it would be a hit or not, but every year both schools are excited to compete to win the Penny,” Wade said. “One of the coolest parts of the rivalry is that the players get to take the coin back to their school and display it proudly for all their classmates to see. It’s not quite as big as the Nickel trophy, but it still gets me pumped watching those kids run after it when the game ends.”
Although this marks the 10th anniversary of the Penny trophy, this Mouse River rivalry has been going on for 23 years.
The Velva vs Ryan game was added in 1997 to both their schedules when the teams played in different divisions.
That year, both teams won the State Championship.
Ryan defeated Watford City, 33 to 14, in the AA/11A Division and Velva bested Harvey 28 to 8 in A/11A. Velva beat Ryan that year 21-0.
The Aggie Foundation has been doing more than creating trophies.
In the past year, they’ve donated $12,000 to the Velva community and nearly $53,000 in Minot, including donations to both schools.
They’ve also totaled over $200,000 in donations across the state in that time.
“I know the assumption, based on our name, is that we’re here to support Velva, but we’re really here to support good organizations and people doing good things in North Dakota,” said Terry Peterson, Aggie Foundation board president. “Donating is one thing, but the yearly highlight for our Board is watching the excitement of those kids when they lift the Penny. It’s goosebumps city!”
The Velva Aggies will be hosting the Bishop Ryan Lions at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 7.