A chile roaster!

I admit I smirked when I first heard the idea. Actually, it was kind of a suppressed sneer. But it was my boss’ idea, so I tried hard to put on a happy face in front of him.

My vision was for a bright, shiny trophy, mounted on a railroad tie, signifying the link between Belen and Los Lunas high schools. It was an idea that had been etched in my head for several years a traveling trophy to be awarded to the winning team in the annual football game played between the Eagles and Tigers.

That was my original idea, but the idea itself was not original. Other people have thought-up the same thing, but nothing ever got done about it. As the county’s community newspaper, the News-Bulletin is in a position to do something about it. And this being the year of the 50th annual Eagle-Tiger football game, this was the time to do it.

I have no problem referring to the game as the “Valencia Bowl.” Belen and Los Lunas are Valencia County’s only two public high schools. It makes sense.

But a chile roaster? I couldn’t see it taking the place of my idea of a bright, shiny trophy mounted on a big, bulky railroad tie.

But the more I came to accept that I wasn’t going to get my way, the more I started liking the boss’s idea. Now I love it.

Just for fun, I researched college football and what they call “trophy games” played between two rival schools. There are some whoppers that make a chile roaster sound tame.

In the Big Ten, for instance, my alma mater, Wisconsin and Minnesota have the longest running rivalry in Division 1-A. The Badgers and Gophers play each year for Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Before that, they played for the Slab of Bacon, which was really a piece of wood with a “W” or an “M” carved into it, depending on your perspective.

Minnesota also has a trophy game with Michigan. They play for the Little Brown Jug.

The Old Mountain Jug is at stake when Appalachian State and Western Carolina meet.

Also up for grabs in various places across the land are Iron Skillets, Steel Tires, Wagon Wheels and War Canoes all kinds of weird stuff.

Cincinnati and Louisville play for, no kidding, a Keg of Nails. You think that’s bad? LSU and Tulane used to play for something called The Rag, which was really a flag bearing the colors of both schools, but it got lost.

From the “things you wear” category, comes the coveted Golden Boot, contested over by LSU and Arkansas. Colorado State and Wyoming’s trophy is a shade different they play for the Bronze Boot.

BYU and Utah compete for the Beehive Boot in a game billed as “The Holy War.”

Oklahoma and Texas compete each year in what is simply called “The Game.” The winner is awarded the Golden Hat.

Closer to home, the University of New Mexico once had a healthy rivalry with Arizona and played for Kit Carson’s Rifle. New Mexico State and UTEP have traditionally tangled for the Silver Spade and Brass Spittoon.

In the state’s big game, sometimes referred to as the “I-25 Bowl,” the Lobos and Aggies play for state bragging rights and the Maloof Trophy.

Trophy?! Borrrrring!

Give me something with some symbolic meaning. Give me something whimsical and fun. A Chile Roaster is perfect.

Q: What can you count on every fall in Valencia County?

A: Roasting chile and the Belen-Los Lunas high school football game.

Sure, it’s probably going to look ugly, but that’ll be part of its charm.

I love the idea of a chile roaster. I guess it goes to show you, the boss is always right.

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.