Bronze Boot a high school football tradition

The Bronze Boot is a Chatham-Kent high school football tradition that is close to 60 years old.
The Wallaceburg Tartans continued the annual tradition by playing for the Bronze Boot trophy on November 2, defeating Lambton Central 15-0 in Wallaceburg.

The Bronze Boot trophy has a colourful backstory,

Sometime in the mid-1960s, Wallaceburg student John Mathany spied a teammate’s old abandoned football shoe sitting in the corner of the locker room.

United States college football rivals played annual games where the winner took home a tradition-rich trophy. Some examples include: Old Brass Spittoon (Michigan State-Indiana), The Golden Egg (Mississippi-Mississippi State), The Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana-Purdue), Little Brown Jug (Michigan-Minnesota) and Jeweled Shillelagh (Notre Dame-University of Southern California).

Wanting to inspire his teammates, Mathany, now a retired lawyer, took the football shoe, bronzed it and created the Bronze Boot and a tradition was born.

The Bronze Boot became a big deal in the 1970s, as it involved not just a football game, but a parade, a dance, soccer tournament and many unsanctioned house parties where the trophy allegedly made an appearance and people drank “water” from the trophy.

Around 2006, the old original Bronze Boot trophy was retired. A new Bronze Boot trophy was created. The bronzed boot on top comes from former Wallaceburg player Shaun Suisham. Suisham, who played 10 years in the NFL, donated one of his game-worn shoes for the new trophy.

The Wallaceburg District Secondary School high-school football tradition lives on. Some years the game is a bit bigger deal and is held on a Saturday. Other years, like this year, it’s a bit quieter affair, but the trophy is brought out of storage and is held high by the winning team for pictures and a victory lap.

Two LKSSAA high school football playoff games take place today. The Ursuline Lancers host the Chatham-Kent Golden Hawks at 3 p.m.

In the other semi-final game St. Pats and Northern will play at 5 p.m. at Norm Perry Park. The winners will meet in the LKSSAA final on November 11.

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