Starting today, Arkansas Razorback fans have one more piece of memorabilia to add to their collections or stash under the tree this holiday season. A limited-edition bobblehead commemorating the Arkansas–LSU football rivalry, the latest installment of which will be played Nov. 21 at Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, was unveiled today by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.
“I think LSU-Arkansas is definitely worthy of that rivalry status in the bobblehead,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said. “In the SEC, we see some of the most passionate fans, not just for their teams, but for their bobbleheads. We’re excited to have this one unveiled.”
The officially licensed, limited edition bobblehead features University of Arkansas mascot Big Red and Louisiana State University mascot Mike the Tiger. Produced by FOCO, an official licensee and manufacturer of Arkansas, LSU and NCAA merchandise, the keepsake was designed and manufactured exclusively for the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.
“The [Museum’s] other co-founder and I are big sports fans and big college sports fans,” Sklar said. “We were familiar with most of the rivalries, but when we started doing some research on which ones to turn into rivalry bobbleheads, we weren’t as familiar with the LSU-Arkansas rivalry and the border battle there.
“When we read a little bit more about it, we thought we should definitely include them in the series. That’s really how that decision was made.”
The 2020 game is the 66th meeting of the two SEC schools in a series that dates back to 1901. The teams regularly squared off between 1901 and 1936, but only once in the 1940s (1947). After four games in the 1950s, the teams would not play again for four decades, save for the 1966 Cotton Bowl in Dallas where the upstart Tigers defeated the second-ranked and previously undefeated defending national champion Hogs, 14-7.
The series was revived in 1992, with Arkansas joining the Southeastern Conference and the game became an annual event between the Western Division rivals. In 1996, the game became the “Battle for the Boot” with the winner receiving a 175-pound, 24-karat traveling trophy.
LSU has had the better of the series over the years, with an overall record of 41-22-2 and 15-8 since the trophy began. The Tigers also own the longest win streak in the series (7 games between 1930-1936) and currently is riding a four-game win streak.
Sklar said while this is the first bobblehead the organization has released on Razorback football, it’s not the first to mark the Hogs’ athletic accomplishments.
“We actually did a bobblehead commemorating the college basketball championship from 1994, as part of our championship bobblehead series,” he said.
The memento is the latest in a series of 10 planned rivalry bobbleheads by the Milwaukee, Wis.-based National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and the second this month. The organization released a similar item commemorating the University of Florida-University of Georgia football rivalry on Nov. 6.
“We started out with Louisville-Kentucky and there were a couple of schools that we couldn’t do just because of the licensing,” Sklar said. “But most of the schools really thought it was a fun idea and a great way for the fans to commemorate the rivalries.”
Each individually numbered bobblehead is $60, plus a flat-rate shipping charge of $8 per order. Only 1,000 of the mementos are being produced and Sklar said the value of limited-edition runs such as the Arkansas-LSU commemorative are likely to increase.
“They are definitely collectibles that we do see appreciate in value. Once those thousand are gone, they’re gone forever,” he said. “In the college basketball championship series, I think Arkansas’ sold out and some of those other schools, like North Carolina, also sold out. We’ve seen some sell on eBay for several hundred dollars and they were just released a few years ago.
“They do become collectibles. Once people get them, they don’t want to let go of them. They pass them onto future generations of fans and they sort of become an heirloom.”
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum (bobbleheadhall.com) opened to the public Feb. 1, 2019. The HOF and Museum produces high–quality, customized bobbleheads for retail sale depicting organizations and individuals from the worlds of sports, entertainment and politics from across the country.