Oregon Civil War: To the victor goes the platypus

Oregon Civil War: To the victor goes the platypus

EUGENE, Ore. - College football rivalries are known for their victory trophies.

Stanford and Cal play for the Axe.

USC and UCLA play for the Victory Bell.

And many, many years ago the University of Oregon and Oregon State had something just as epic.

The platypus trophy was created in 1959 by a University of Oregon Fine Arts student after officials from both universities came up with the idea.

Warren Spady had just one month to finish it before the Oregon Civil War game.

"I had an old stuffed platypus that didn't have much of a figure and I mean this is football you have to have something that has a little power," Spady said.

Spady didn't even get to finish the feet on the platypus before it was transferred to the winning team at the Oregon Civil War game that year.

The platypus is seen as the natural combination of the University of Oregon Duck and Oregon State University Beaver.

It was used for just three years before being stolen in 1962. Spady didn't see it again for 20 years.

"So in 1986 I run across the pool and there it is in the trophy case." Spady said. "And what do you see on here, Water Polo Trophy and there is four years."

No one is sure how the University of Oregon Water Polo Club came to use the trophy. Spady said a few years later the pool was rebuilt and the trophy was found again, this time in a closet.

In 2007 the trophy was brought back for its original purpose, but it only lasted a few years and the tradition died again.

Now Spady is pushing both universities to bring the platypus trophy back as part of the Civil War tradition.

"I've worked on the largest cast iron sculpture, I've designed the world's largest leaded glass sculpture," Spady said. "They don't mean anything compared to this and having this fun."