Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Rifle retired in Wildcat-Lobo rivalry

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

The winner of the Insight.com Bowl next week won’t be getting a gun as part of the victory celebration.

Officials at Arizona and New Mexico have agreed to shelve the ”Kit Carson Rifle,” which was once given as a trophy to the victor of football games between the two schools.

The rifle, inscribed with the winners of games in a rivalry lasting from 1937 to 1976, is nicknamed after the commander of U.S. troops who forced most Navajos to a concentration camp in New Mexico in the 1860s.

Legend has it that it was acquired in a trade from Apache leader Geronimo, who died in Oklahoma in 1909, but former UA football coach J.F. ”Pop” McKale once said he found it in an ROTC storage room.

Concern about the gun’s symbolism as a weapon against Native Americans outweighed its value as a relic of the schools’ rivalry.

”We don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable with an antique gun being used as a game trophy,” UA athletic director Jim Livengood said. ”It’s just not in the spirit of intercollegiate athletics.”

University of Arizona spokesman Tom Duddleston Jr. said the gun’s origins also are unclear.

”We felt it just didn’t ring true,” Duddleston said.

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