A trophy mocked up to represent a paint bucket is one of the most unique prized possessions you’ll find in college football, and it brings bragging rights for 365 days a year to two North Dakota teams separated by just 35 miles.
“It’s just another game is what I want to say, but it’s not,” Jimmies’ head coach Brian Mistro said.
The rivalry between the University of Jamestown and Valley City State University has been more than just a game for 108 years. It’s a rivalry sharpened by some playful vandalism, most notably spray painting the winning score on the opposing team’s stadium.
“The presidents got together and said here’s an opportunity to eliminate the vandalism, and the trophy was born,” former Jimmies’ player and coach Kevin Gall said.
The paint buckey trophy has been passed back and forth since 1961 with Valley City owning a 62-52-4 advantage.
“It’s the outside of what your normal football, even us, it’s knowing the attention on our program at the time from the community, from our alumni around the area or around the nation that there’s interest,” Vikings’ head coach Dennis McCulloch said.
The rivalries go beyond the field when it comes private vs public school, recruiting the same athletes, academics between nursing and education, the geography between the two schools, and it all comes to a head between the lines.
“It’s just gotten bigger and better,” former Vikings’ player and coach Cory Anderson said. “The rivalry is, I think, just as intense. There’s lots of neighbors that live on both sides of it so to speak, but it’s what makes it a great friendly rivalry.”
For everyone involved there are endless memories, whether they are from wins or losses, but at the end of the day the Jimmies and the Vikings care about just one thing.
“When you’re a player it’s more of a hatred thing,” Gall said. “When you become a coach it’s more of a respect thing, bu you know, you never want to lose to Valley City.”
“You don’t want to do anything to diminishes your chances of getting that bucket or retaining that bucket,” Anderson said. “You know, the incentive is there for the coaches.”
And the incentive is there for the players, especially the ones who have tasted both victory and defeat.
“You know I was lucky enough to be part of a win my freshman year for it, so I felt that and it’s an awesome feeling,” Jimmies’ quarterback Cade Torgersons said. “And I’ve felt a loss in this game, so I mean it stings a little more than some of them I’d say, but the winning feeling is unexplainable.”