The contest for the most expensive prize in college football, the Fremont Cannon, kicks off today at 4 pm (PDT). The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) annually vie for the cannon, which cost $10,000 to build in 1970 and is also the largest and heaviest college rivalry trophy.
In 1969, Bill Ireland, the first coach of UNLV’s (then called Nevada Southern University) fledgling football team conceived the idea of a trophy for the battle for Nevada football supremacy. The 545 pound cannon was donated by Kennecott Copper. It is a replica of the howitzer used during the 1843-44 exploration of the West by Captain John C. Fremont.
The school in possession used to fire the Fremont Cannon after each touchdown in the rivalry game. But damage after UNLV fans dropped it during celebration of their 2000 victory has left the cannon silent.
The winner of the clash between north and south claims the title of best team in Nevada and paints the carriage of the cannon in their school colors – blue and silver for the UNR Wolf Pack, scarlet and gray for the UNLV Running Rebels. The cannon has remained in northern Nevada for the past six years.
Today’s game in UNR’s Mackay Stadium will be broadcast on ESPN3 (their internet channel) and Cox cable in Las Vegas. Odds-makers give the win to UNR. Go Wolf Pack!
More history on the Fremont Cannon: