The buried tradition of the battle of the ax has been revived after 60 years.
History of the Ax
In 1937, the rivalry began between the Branch Agricultural College and Dixie Junior college. In 2022, Branch Agricultural College is now known as Southern Utah University and Dixie Junior college is now known as Utah Tech University.
Ken Beazer, Utah Tech athletic director, said the tradition is something fun to bring back and there wasn’t a better time to do it.
”This is the first time the two institutions share the same conference [since] 1962,” Beazer said. “Finally, we’re back to the same conference where we are going to play each other again every year, so it just made sense to bring back the tradition.”
According to President ”Biff” Williams in the State of the University Address, there are many stories about the victory ax.
”It disappeared and showed up at Snow College. It was stolen and showed up in Salt Lake City, and people say that it was burned into the lawn of the other institutions’ grass.” Williams said. “ I know our ‘D’ was changed from a ‘D’ to a ‘C.’”
With all the chaos, controversy and disappearances of the ax, the Board of Trustees decided they ”need to cease and desist,” Williams said.
Therefore, they stopped the battle of the ax.
When the ax was finally found, the schools worked to replicate and duplicate the ax so that both universities could keep it for a historic display.
At Utah Tech, the ax is displayed in the athletics trophy cases in the Burns Arena.
Brooke Ulrich, social media and digital marketing coordinator said, ”It was the presidents of both universities that agree upon the tradition, in the archives, it was the student body presidents that organized it.”
Ulrich said, back in the day, it used to be the athletics that would have the rivalry of the ax, but with complications, it was best to keep it to football.
Where is the axe now?
On Sept. 24, the Utah Tech football team traveled to SUU to battle it out for the victory axe on its homecoming night.
The Thunderbirds came out on top with the victory over the trailblazers with the end score of 31-17. The Thunderbirds will keep the victory ax safe at its university until the next game against the Trailblazers.
On Nov. 5 at 6 p.m., the teams will compete in another rivalry game for the axe, but instead, it will be held at the Greater Zion Stadium where the Trailblazers will fight on their homecoming night to hold the ax until the next game.