Beginning in 1902, fleet of foot Badgers competed in the Turkey Race, a long distance run annually held the day before Thanksgiving. What were the runners competing for? Pride? Certainly, but also a bevy of avian prizes. Oh, and they were live. First place – a live Turkey (obviously) Second place – a live goose, third place a live chicken, and fourth place earned an egg. Yes, an egg.
Starting in 1920, winners’ names were carved on the Elsom Trophy, named after Dr. J.C. Elsom, professor of physical education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison as well as the school’s first basketball coach. Courses were about two miles long. The 1914 Badger Yearbook reports that the route was, “Across Lower Campus; down State Street to the Square; north on Mifflin Street to the Post office; Wisconsin Avenue to Langdon Street; down to the Gymnasium, finishing in front of the Gym.”
We’re not sure when this traditions ended, but the last time it’s mentioned in the Badger Yearbook is 1934.