The Fremont Cannon
Trophy Helps Illustrate Importance of State Rivalry
Not simply a traveling trophy for the winner of the UNLV vs. Nevada, Reno game, the Fremont Cannon is ever-present at the now-annual Battle for Nevada.
The tradition of awarding the cannon to the victors started more than three decades ago when the Rebels' first football coach, Bill Ireland, felt the young rivalry between the north and south schools could use a symbolic trophy to stimulate interest. The prize turned out to be a replica of the howitzer used by John C. Fremont, one of America's foremost trailblazers, as he headed west into Nevada in 1843. Legend has it that Fremont violated U.S. War Department rules by taking the cannon with him on his westward trek without permission and then abandoned the weapon in a Sierra-Nevada snowdrift.
Built by the Kennecott Copper Corp., Nevada Mines Division, the cannon is valued at more than $10,000 and is considered one of the best, and loudest, symbols of rivalry in the college football. The Fremont is one of only two cannon prizes in all rivalry games, along with Illinois vs. Purdue.
The Wolf Pack held the cannon first because they had beaten the Rebels 30-28 in the first game of the series on Thanksgiving Day 1969. UNLV promptly won rights to the big gun in 1970 with a 42-30 home win and went on to dominate the series with eight wins in the next 11 games played. After UNR rebounded to win five straight games (1989-1993), UNLV regained the cannon in its Silver Anniversary Year in 1994.