I want to start with a story about a trip my girl Brenda and I took to the Black Hills about six years ago. We decided to set up camp at the Beaver Run Waterslide and Campground near Custer. While checking in at the office/gift shop, I was perusing the tourist trap trinkets when a voice behind me said:

"Excuse me, but you have a lot of nerve wearing that in here."

I turned around and I swear this is what I saw...


I was sincerely surprised to see such a scowly faced critter.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  Then he said..

"That t-shirt, you have a lot of nerve wearing that t-shirt in here"

I was still turned around, trying to figure out what he was talking about.

European Bison Project Seeks A Return To The Wild
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Then it dawned on me, I was wearing a shirt that said "GO BISON" on the back.  Turns out the guy was just joking around.  Y'know, friendly rivalry right?

Wrong.  Los Angles Lakers versus Boston Celtics is a rivalry.  This is more like Minnesota Vikings versus Detroit Lions.  Sure those teams play each other twice a year, but no Viking fan ever got uptight about someone in a Lions t-shirt. Sympathetic maybe, but not uptight.

Now, I'm no die-hard Bison fan, it was just a promotional radio station t-shirt.  So true Bison fans, is that rivalry really a thing?  Looking into it, I see there's a traveling trophy called the "Dakota Marker" which is according to Wikipedia...

The trophy is a model replica of the quartzite monuments that marked the border between North and South Dakota when Dakota Territory split into two states along the Seventh Standard Parallel (45°56'07" N). The monuments were seven feet tall and ten inches square at the top, and were mined and inscribed near Sioux Falls. Charles bates placed 720 markers at half-mile intervals along the border in the summers of 1891 and 1892. The monuments inscribed with the initials "N.D." on the north side and "S.D." on the south side.[1]

The trophy itself is considerably smaller but equally as un-sexy as you would expect from a mile marker replica.  Find pictures here.

The inscriptions include: N.D., S.D., and 190 M (the distance between Fargo, ND and Brookings, SD along Interstate 29). The trophy weighs nearly 75 pounds and commonly carries around the field immediately after the game's conclusion by the winning team.

The real reason for the rivalry? Well in 2004, both NDSU and SDSU jumped conferences and lost their old rivals UND and USD.   So I guess rivalry was proclaimed that year.  True to say the teams have played over a hundred times in their history.  So maybe just being familiar makes you a rival.  NDSU leads in wins 10-6 since the Dakota Marker came into existence.  Before their most recent matchup last year, ESPN College Game day was broadcasting from Brookings, South  Dakota.  So I could be way off on this "rivalry".  If the Jackrabbits roll over the Bison this Saturday I could be convinced differently.

Horns and Ears Up Y'all!

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