Vote for the Best Rivalry in KS
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Dodge City, Kan.
Garden City, Kan.
The two largest schools in Western Kansas - 50 miles apart - have played for The Hatchet since 1938, although the series dates back to 1903. Dodge City won the first game 34-0 and called Garden City poor sports in the local newspaper for not wanting to play a second game. So Garden City obliged and the towns threw a party together after the 0-0 tie. It wasn't so friendly from there on, as the Hatchet Trophy - which of course was stolen at one point - was allegedly born when it was declared the towns needed to bury the hatchet. The teams have played 110 times, with Dodge City holding a 71-34-5 advantage, which would make former Dodge City lawman Wyatt Earp quite proud.
There are plenty of reasons for this rivalry. Proximity - the schools are 25 miles apart. Small town (Holton, population 3,300) vs. city (Topeka, pop. 130,000). Public (Holton) vs. private (Hayden). The same initials (HHS), the same mascot (Wildcats). Hayden coach Bill Arnold is a former QB from Holton. They always seem to meet twice; the regular season and again in the playoffs. And they're normally really good - they've combined for five Class 4A state titles since 1998, including each team beating the other in the state final once apiece.
Junction City, Kan.
Officially, it is the Sportsman Trophy. But everyone in these parts knows it as the Silver Trophy. It started in 1949 and the legend is that the losing team used to deliver it to the winning team during the winning team's postgame pep rally back at the school. Ouch. These days, when the trophy changes hands, each team lines up at its own 35-yard line following the game, and the captains march forward to meet at the 50, where the losing team hands over the Silver Trophy with - a sign of progress - a congratulatory handshake.