SOUTHERN UTAH (ABC4) – A southern Utah college rivalry has been reignited after being left cold for nearly 60 years. 

Southern Utah University (SUU) in Ceder City and Utah Tech University (UT) in St. George will battle over a coveted Battle Ax that boldly brandishes the updated names and colors of both universities in what has been aptly named “The Battle of the Ax.”

“We are really excited to restore the Battle of the Ax tradition,” said SUU Student Body President McKay Pollmann. “I am hopeful this will be a great way to get students engaged and active on both campuses, as we are constantly seeking to improve student life. This will be fun. Go T-Birds!”

The in-state rivalry started in 1937 when the student body presidents of both institutions created an ax with each college’s name on it. The Battle Ax was presented to the winning team in all athletic competitions in what became a friendly but heated rivalry. 

In 1963, Southern Utah University gained four-year status while Utah Tech remained a junior college. The traditional Battle of the Ax came to an abrupt end and the Ax was split into two so both could proudly display it on their respective campuses. 

As SUU and UT head into the 2022-23 athletic season, the two will be rivals once again on the court and on the field. SUU joins UT as a member of the Western Athletic Conference, giving way for the historic in-conference rivalry to heat up once more.

In honor of the newly re-sparked rivalry, with the help of Vandy Creations, a new ax has been created to replace the old one that was divided in two.

“Students are excited about our move to Division-I athletics,” said UT Student Body President Devon Rice. “We like to watch teams that we know. Riving this old Battle Ax tradition will be a great opportunity for us to be passionate about the teams we’re playing.”

SUU and UT will play host each other for their homecoming games this football season. SUU will host UT on Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. in Eccles Coliseum Stadium, while the UT Trailblazers will host the Thunderbirds on Nov. 5 in Greater Zion Stadium.