History of Fight Songs – Minnesota Rouser

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 27: University of Minnesota Marching Band Drum Major Brandon Folkes leads the band before the National Funding Holiday Bowl game between the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Washington State Cougars on December 27, 2016, at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Minnesota Rouser

Minnesota, hats off to thee!
To thy colors true we shall ever be,
Firm and strong, united are we.
Rah, rah, rah, for Ski-U-Mah,
Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah!
Rah for the U of M.

[Repeat]

M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A!
Minnesota, Minnesota!
Yay, Gophers! RAH!

History and Origin

Minnesota Rouser has been the official fight song of the Golden Gophers football team since 1909.

For years, Minnesota students would sing “Hail! Minnesota” during football games. However, many felt the song lacked any pep and was seen as too slow and mournful for the atmosphere of a football game. In October of 1909, Minnesota alumnus Dean B. Gregg placed a challenge to The Minnesota Daily to hold a competition for a new fight song. The Minneapolis Tribune would become a partner and sponsor of the competition, offering a grand prize of $50.

The competition would run until November 1st and entry would be judged by a mix of school administrators, students and the Governor Alexander O. Oberhart. Receiving nearly 100 entries from across the country, on November 6th the judges met to vote. Gov. Oberhart would sing while music professor Carlyle Scott would play the piano.

By the end of the day, the entry by 27-year old preacher Floyd Hutsell was chosen as the winner. Hutsell’s version originally included the opening verse:

Honor to our college, Minnesota U!
Loyal to thy standards, We’ll ever be untrue.
Underneath thy pennant pulses beat with pride, and
Victory e’er shall be our aim o’er the nation wide!

This verse was quickly removed due to critics, among who included university President Cyrus Northop who had doubts of the songs success. However, the song would become a hit and has been played at Golden Gopher games since.

Hutsell would continue in the music and entertainment business. Under the stage name Robert Lamar, Hutsell would travel the country appearing in vaudeville shows, operas, and on Broadway. He would pass away in 1961 at the age of 1979.

Wisconsin Connection

The most played rivalry in college football, Minnesota has played the Wisconsin Badgers yearly since 1890. Wisconsin’s own fight song “On, Wisconsin!” came about as a result of the contest for Minnesota’s fight song.

William T. Purdy originally wrote the lyrics as “Minnesota, Minnesota but withdrew from the competition at the urging of a Wisconsin student. Purdy rewrote the lyrics, changing the chant “Minnesota, Minnesota” to “On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!”

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