20 Years Later Rose Cup Races Trophy is Found

Sixty three years ago, the Rose Cup Races program boldly welcomed fans to the “First Annual Rose Cup Sports Car Races”. Not only did they call it the “First Annual” event, clearly hoping to start a new tradition, they also had a special trophy created. Jerry Grant drove a Ferrari 250TR to victory that day, hoisting the Rose Cup trophy over his head. From that day on, the Rose Cup trophy was used to celebrate annual victory. It got a little more tarnished as time went by, but the names of winners continued to be etched on the trophy each year. At some point, the trophy was lost and a replacement trophy was made. Having been crafted with only the memory of the original trophy, it wasn’t exactly the same. Yet it continued to be a symbol of victory, at least for a while.

Both trophies were lost sometime in the 2000’s. Nobody could remember exactly where they went. Did a victor take them home and not return them? Did they live on a trophy shelf covered in dust? Were they stolen? Or maybe they were mistakenly thrown away? Nobody knew. Recent Rose Cup winners would inquire about the trophy, hoping to have their names added to the list. So many famous names were engraved on the trophy: George Follmer, John Paul, Monte Shelton, John Greenwood, Bob Tullius, Doc Bundy, Willy T. Ribbs and many more. Today’s drivers grew up with these drivers as role models. Who wouldn’t want their name engraved next to these past winners?

Friends of PIR was about to commission a new replacement trophy when we started to hear rumors. Was it possible that the trophies still existed? Could they have been put in storage and forgotten? It turns out the trophies were carefully put in a Rose Festival Foundation warehouse and not seen again for almost two decades! FOPIR would like to thank Tony Hufford for taking the time to hunt down these heirlooms. We would also like to thank the Rose Festival Foundation for entrusting FOPIR to be the new custodian of the trophies. The original trophy will live in a new trophy cabinet in the Rose Cup room and will be once again hoisted over the head of the race winner each year. The old replacement trophy will go home for the victor to display for 364 days, but only if they promise to bring it back.

So join us in cheering on your favorite drivers and think about that old trophy on Sunday afternoon when it gets raised by the winning driver. Just like they did way back in 1961.