Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

At Final Four, Bucky's band will play a song written for Minnesota

Author:

As University of Wisconsin fans head off to college basketball's Final Four this weekend, they'll be humming a tune that was written with Minnesota in mind.

Badger fans started singing their fight song, On Wisconsin, in 1909.

But according to the story that's been told for more than a century – and even appears in the University of Wisconsin archives – the composer of the tune intended to send it to the University of Minnesota.

William T. Purdy was living in a Chicago rooming house in 1909 when he heard that the U of M was offering a $100 prize to whomever could write the best song to get Gopher fans fired up at football games.

But his friend Carl Beck, who had gone to school in Madison the year before, heard the tune, came up with some lyrics, and convinced Purdy to send it to Wisconsin instead.

The song debuted at the 1909 gridiron contest between the Gophers and Badgers, with lyrics tailored for the Minnesota game:

This embed is invalid

"On, Wisconsin!"

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Plunge right through that line!
* Run the ball 'round Minnesota,
A touchdown sure this time.
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Fight on for her fame
Fight! Fellows! Fight!
And we will win this game.

The modern version replaces the Minnesota reference with "Run the ball right down the field."

On its page about the Minnesota Rouser, the U of M's school of music corroborates the 1909 fight song contest. The anthem "Hail! Minnesota" was deemed too dreary to rally sports fans. What started with an alum in the bleachers putting up a five dollar prize for a new fight song, snowballed quickly with help from the Minnesota Daily and the Minneapolis Tribune.

So even though William Purdy's tune made a detour to Madison, Minnesota received 93 songs from around the country and settled on the Rouser.

Written by Floyd M. Hutsell, the 27-year-old choir director at a Minneapolis church, it was first performed at the 1909 football game against Iowa.

This embed is invalid

Is it better than On Wisconsin? Hard to answer that without school and state loyalties creeping into the verdict.

But for the second straight year, one of these songs will be played at college basketball's marquee event.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild win battle of NHL's hottest teams, extend winning streak to six

Kirill Kaprizov delivered a shootout winner to take down the Maple Leafs.

Eric Kendricks

Vikings downgrade Eric Kendricks to out against Lions

The Vikings have also activated Michael Pierce from injured reserve.

u.s. attorney

Minnesotan sentenced after assaulting man with baseball bat

Marshall Wayne Boshey was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Target store

Target's gift card discount is back, but for this weekend only

The fine print: for Target Circle members only (but membership is free).

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Minneapolis teen arrested in St. Cloud after fleeing police in stolen vehicle

The vehicle was stolen in a car-jacking in Minneapolis Thursday.

snow, blowing snow

Winter storm warnings issued with heavy snow set to slam MN

Parts of northern Minnesota could see more than a foot of snow, but there won't be much in the Twin Cities.

D'Angelo Russell

With KAT out, Timberwolves can't upset Nets

D'Angelo Russell stepped up but couldn't overcome Brooklyn's firepower.

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Everson Griffen confirms he has bipolar disorder

"I’ve been running from it a long time. I’m not ashamed of it anymore.”

Angela Renee Jones, St. Cloud murder suspect

St. Cloud suspect now charged in two local murder cases

Both murders happened within a day of each other in June.

Related