Tag Archives: michigan

Two Pandemics and one Brown Jug

The Little Brown Jug

The Little Brown Jug has already seen one pandemic, and on a field in Minneapolis, Michigan and Minnesota will fight for it once again in the midst of a second pandemic.

The teams were already rivals in 1903, when Fielding Yost, and his Michigan Wolverines, left behind the 25 cent crockery. The Gophers painted the jug brown, and wrote the final score on it. The next time the two teams met, they agreed that the jug would make a nice trophy. Minnesota and Michigan have been battling for the jug ever since.

There was an eight year gap when Michigan left the Big Ten Conference, but the two teams were scheduled to restart their rivalry in 1918. That game never happened.

Minnesota had its first case of influenza in late September 1918. Within three weeks, there were over 1500 cases reported. Businesses were shut down, and gatherings banned by October 9. Like today, there were mixed reactions to the precautions. The University of Minnesota did not reopen until October 23.*

Sports across the country dealt with the pandemic, just like today. Alabama and LSU did not have a season. The World Series was played early, and the Stanley Cup was called off after 5 games because Montreal could not field a healthy team.**

It wasn’t the pandemic that kept Michigan from playing Minnesota in 1918, but the war effort. The Army had instituted a travel ban, so teams had to keep their games close to campus.

The two rivals did meet again in 1919. The Gophers won 34-7, with 1919 being the only year Yost finished with a losing record (3-4).

The Big Ten returns on Saturday, which many consider a good thing, and just as many probably do not. In any event, we have been here before, even though it predates the vast majority of us. We did get through it.

The very same 25 cent Jug will be up for grabs for the 104th time on Saturday in Minneapolis.

The Little Brown Jug at TCF Bank Stadium


**Minneapolis StarTribune

Not your standard Edsel

1934 Ford Special Speedster

Edsel Ford was the president of the Ford Motor Company from 1919 to 1943. When he returned from a tour of Europe in 1932, Edsel Ford turned to Ford’s chief stylist, E.T. Gregorie, to create a sports car like what he had seen in Europe.

Built on a Ford ’34 Model 40 frame, the Special Speedster is a work of art. The body was aluminum over a tubular aluminum frame, crafted by Ford’s Aircraft Division.

An extreme rear cockpit, looked out over an elongated hood. All four wheels are at the car’s corners.

The cockpit featured Lincoln period instruments, leather seats, simple windscreens, and no doors or top. The instruments were replaced by Stewart-Warner gauges in 1940.

Originally powered by a stock Model 40, 75 HP Flathead V8, the engine was replaced in 1939 after a winter freeze cracked the block! Tsk, tsk… The Speedster is now powered by a 100 HP, Mercury 239 Flathead V8.

The Special Speedster can be seen at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan.

Photos credit: FoMoCo

Ewigleben Ice Arena

Big Rapids, Michigan

Ferris State Bulldogs

After the cavernous Schott of Ohio State, I was in for a 180 degree turn of events when I walked into the home of the Ferris State University Bulldogs. In a word, the rink is intimate.

Bulldogs are in the house

Ewigleben officially seats 2493. It has a very low ceiling, and one side of the rink has the two benches and the two penalty boxes between the benches. There are no seats on that side. A very unique arena.

Opening face-off
Opening face-off

My seat was in the front row, which I rarely like to do, but in this case, I certainly got immersed into the Bulldog cult, so it was probably worth it. I did have a great view of the ice.

The Dawg Pound
The student section, or “The Dawg Pound”

As for the game: The Bowling Green Falcons were in town for game one of a two game series. The first period play was fast, and we saw some very good hockey. Tyler Andrew scored the only goal in the period for the Bulldogs, assisted by Rob Rutkowski and Zach Szajner. I thought Rutkowski had a good overall game on defense.
Tyler Spezia evened things up with a nice goal in the second for Bowling Green. Ferris answered 8 minutes later when Gerald Mayhew buried a pass by Corey Mackin. Mackin is a fun player to watch; he was all over the ice tonight.
Ferris seemingly had the game in control, until they took a 5 minute major for checking from behind. Bowling Green tied things up with a minute left in the penalty.

I had several young boys directly behind me, and at one point, when a Ferris player missed a wide open net, one of the boys, who was around 7 or 8, cried out in exasperation, “OH NUGGETS!” I damn near died laughing, which embarrassed the kid, but I couldn’t help it. Afterwards, when Ferris committed an offsides, or missed a pass, I would say “Nuggets!”, which caused the girl next to me to laugh hysterically. Her boyfriend, oddly enough, did not find me amusing.

The game went into overtime, and the Falcons ended the evening 34 seconds into the extra period on a score by Mark Friedman. A heartbreaking loss for Ferris State. No one had the heart to yell nuggets.

Chris Nell made 21 saves in the win; Justin Kapelmaster had 32 in the loss. The attendance was 1813.


Ewigleben is a tough arena to get any pictures of. I did not bring the Widelux, which really would have come in handy. I did climb up to the higher rows in between periods, just to get an idea of the rink’s layout. It is different, but provides a cool hockey experience.

B1G Tournament

Back at The X,
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Minnesota Hockey

The Big Ten Hockey Tournament started on Thursday at The X in St Paul. Ohio State prevailed over Michigan State in OT, and Penn State beat Wisconsin 5-2 to advance to the semifinals.

Michigan vs PSU
Michigan takes on Penn State

In the Friday afternoon game, Michigan faced Penn State, and the Wolverines have lit the lamp against the Lions this season.
Michigan led 2-0 after one period on goals by Max Shuart and Alex Kile. In the third period, Kyle Connor scored three in a row for the pure hat trick. JT Compher assisted on all of Connor’s scores. Kevin Kerr finally put one behind Wolverine GT Steve Racine, which put the score at 5–1 after two.
Michigan would tally two more in the third, with one being from Connor, and PSU sandwiched a goal in there for a 7-2 Michigan win.

Kyle Connor, the B1G Freshman & Player of the Year, scored 4. Connor now leads the nation in scoring with 34 goals and 65 points.
Compher had 5 assists.

In their five games against PSU this season, Michigan has scored 33 goals, with ten of those being scored by the freshman Connor.

Minnesota and OSU during warm ups
Minnesota and Ohio State during warm ups

In game two, the Minnesota Gophers faced The Ohio State Buckeyes. Minnesota had great tempo in the first, but OSU did a good job of boxing the Gophers to the outside. Still, the Buckeyes took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on a goal by Kevin Miller.
The second period had some great defensive hockey, and the period was scoreless, although the natives were getting restless.
Tyler Sheehy opened the scoring for Minnesota on a great shot from the left circle to tie the game up, 1:36 into period three. Vinnie Lettieri, would score the go-ahead 4 minutes later and the small crowd at The X exploded. Taylor Cammarata would score two more for the Gophers, both assisted by Sheehy, and Minnesota would go on to win 4-2.

Minnesota had 45 SOG to OSU’s 29. Attendance was 5423.

Hockey hats
They gave away hats! Notice anything odd about them though?

Minnesota will face Michigan on Saturday night for the B1G Championship, and the Gophers will have their hands full. Michigan is already in the national tourney, but Minnesota needs the win to get the automatic bid. The teams split 2-2 during the regular season.


Congrats to the Minnesota Gopher Women’s Team in their overtime win over the Wisconsin Badgers. Minnesota will now face Boston College for the National Championship. It will be the Gopher Women’s fifth straight appearance in the title game.

Welcome to the U.P.

Familiar sight in Houghton

Revisiting the U.P.

This would be Rover country:


I may be testing the winter design abilities of my 300ZX, as well as the Cooper winter tires, and possibly my luck, but that’s what roads were made for.

Quite a bit of fresh snow through northern Wisconsin and Yooper Michigan. Snow machines were everywhere, in fact every corner bar and gas station in each hamlet I passed today, had at least 20 snow machines in front of it.

Freezing rain this afternoon, on top of the snow made the roads greasy… simply greasy.

Once again, I wish I had the Rover to traverse this country in, but the 300 will have to do.

’55 Bel Air

1955 Chevy

Henry Ford Museum: Racing

1902 Ford 999

Henry Ford built the Ford ‘999’ in 1902, but he was afraid to drive it, so he hired famed bicycle racer Barney Oldfield to get behind the wheel. Oldfield won many races in the ‘999’ and went on to become one of the country’s first nationally recognized race drivers. The car’s success also established Henry Ford and helped to set up the formation of The Ford Motor Company. Engine: Ford, inline 4-cylinder, atmospheric overhead intake values and side exhaust valves, 1155 cu. in., 70 hp (est.)

1906 "Old 16"

The 1906 Locomobile “Old 16” was the first American car to win an international race, when it won the Vanderbilt Cup in 1908 with George Robertson behind the wheel. “Old 16” cost $20,000 to build. Engine: Locomobile inline 4-cylinder, overhead intake valves, side exhaust valves, 990 cu. in., 120 hp

1933 Willys "Gasser"

This 1933 Willys drag racer was (re)built in 1958 by “Ohio George” Montgomery. Between 1959 and 1966, Montgomery and his Willys “Gasser” won their class at the National Hot Rod Association national championships six times. Engine: Ford V-8, single-overhead cam V-8, 427 cu. in., 850 hp (est.)

1956 Ford F-100

Jerry Unser’s 1956 Ford F100 and Bobby Unser’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb racer. Bobby Unser had won the Pikes Peak Hill Climb twice before he drove this racer to victory in 1959. He would drive this car to victory 6 more times, winning the Pikes Peak Hill Climb nine times out of 13 years.

1956 Chrysler 300-B

Buck Baker drove this 1956 Chrysler 300-B during his NASCAR driving championship that same year. Team owner, Carl Kiekhaefer, won 22 out of 41 races that year, including 16 in a row. Kiekhaefer left racing after dominating the 1955-56 seasons. Engine: Chrysler V-8, overhead valves, 354 cu. in., 355 hp


In 1965, brothers Bob & Bill Summers took Goldenrod to the Bonneville Salt Flats and shattered the land speed record for wheel driven cars hitting 409.277 MPH. Goldenrod’s record stood until 1991. Engines: Four Chrysler “Hemi” V-8s, overhead valves, 426 cu. in., 600hp each

1960 Meskowski Race Car

A.J. Foyt won 13 of the 26 races he entered driving this car, which was powered by the 4-cylinder Offenhauser engine. An “Offy” powered car took the victory lap in 27 Indianapolis 500’s between 1935-1976. Engine: Meyer and Drake “Offenhauser” inline 4-cylinder, double overhead camshaft, 255 cu. in., 400 hp

Henry Ford Museum

Dearborn, Michigan

Driving America

While in Detroit, I checked out the Henry Ford Museum. First off, let me tell you, this place is huge and the collection is extensive. I doubt anyone could see everything here in a single day. It is one impressive collection.

HF's Quadcycle
Henry Ford’s first car: The Quadricycle, built in 1896.

'32 Ford V8
Ford’s 1932 V-8 engine takes center stage in front of a 1937 LaSalle Coupe

1931 Bugatti Royale
One of only six: a 1931 Bugatti Royale. “Longer than the Deus, twice the horse power of a Rolls, and more costly than the two of them put together.”

1931 Duesenberg Model 'J'
A 1931 Duesenberg Model ‘J’

Mac's & Chevrolet
Neon, McDonald’s and a 1956 Chevy Bel Air

1959 VW Westfalia
Camping icon: A 1959 VW Westfalia. It looks like it should be parked down by a beach somewhere. Let’s take it out!

The Driving America exhibit, celebrates and at times questions, America’s love affair with the automobile. It truly delves into not only automobiles, but American culture throughout the decades as well and how our vehicles shaped that culture. A first rate exhibit, and a wonderfully diverse collection. It’s not just Fords on display, not by a long shot.

Yoop-ing in the New Year

mackinac bridge
Mackinac Bridge

In order to avoid Chicago, I decided to take the scenic route towards the Twin Cities and ventured up into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

It was a nice drive, and the UP is beautiful country. It was snowing lightly when I crossed the Mackinac Bridge. The “Mighty Mac” is a 26,372 foot long suspension bridge, completed in 1957, that connects the Upper and Lower sections of Michigan.

I stopped in St. Ignace and eventually wandered down to the Driftwood for a night of Mad Hatters and wondering what 2016 could possibly have in store.

It was a fun crowd, and offered a wonderful distraction.