Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech aren’t thought of as rivals, but like many great rivalry games, their game Saturday will involve an odd trophy.
It’s a long forgotten piece of hardware, but according to the Georgia Tech athletic web site, the winner of the game receives a silver-plated cowbell. Really.
The trophy will be return Saturday after a Georgia Tech staffer found it in a cabinet in a supply closet this week. Really.
The tradition apparently began in 1924 when a Georgia Tech fan, Ed F. Cavaleri, bought a cowbell to use as a noisemaker during the game against the Commodores.
At a friend’s suggestion, he decided to give the cowbell to the winning team. He did so for every game between the two schools from 1924 to 1967, awarding the cowbell to the winning team every year except 1936 after someone stole the cowbell from him in 1935. It didn’t matter though, since the ’36 game ended in a scoreless tie.
It gets better. The trophy had been lost during renovations at Georgia Tech years ago, and it had been missing ever since. Then this week, a staff member in the athletic department found it in a cabinet while looking for printer toner.
That sounds like a crazy coincidence, and maybe that part of the story has been re-written a bit. Regardless, the winner on Saturday will head home with a trophy, however obscure it may be.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 19-15-3.