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Football matchups between DWU, Mount Marty taking on Dakota Railroad Rivalry name in 2024

Jan. 20—YANKTON — The Dakota Wesleyan-Mount Marty football rivalry, in only its fourth year in 2024, will take on the Dakota Railroad Rivalry name as part of a new marketing effort around the contest between the Great Plains Athletic Conference rivals.

The teams will meet Sept. 7 in Mitchell and will play for the first time for the Dakota Railroad Rivalry traveling trophy, which will be unveiled later this year.

"Since our first year competing in football in 2021, we have enjoyed the competitive and positive atmosphere of all three games with Dakota Wesleyan University. We are thrilled to continue to build on this in-state GPAC matchup and to celebrate these two great universities with exciting and unforgettable experiences for our students, alumni, and fans," said Marc Long, Mount Marty University president in an announcement.

DWU has won all three matchups between the two school since Mount Marty started a football program in 2021, including a 51-45 double-overtime win in Yankton in 2023. CorTrust Bank, which has locations in both Mitchell and Yankton, is the game's sponsor.

"This rivalry game is what collegiate athletics is all about — two institutions that desperately want to beat each other when they meet on the field, but share a mutual respect that results in sportsmanship, coupled with the support of fans and members of their respective communities that bring the energy that makes these competitions special," DWU President Dan Kittle said.

The two schools — located 83 miles apart — decided on the name Dakota Railroad Rivalry to pay homage to past games between Dakota Wesleyan and Yankton College, which stopped awarding diplomas in 1984 but retains a proud football history. By the year 1915, football contests between the two schools had become so popular that a special train took students to and from Yankton to Mitchell for a 50-cent fare. That train was also used to ferry fans and students to see matchups between Mitchell High School and Yankton High School.

"The Dakota Wesleyan and Mount Marty football games have been great to be part of," DWU interim athletic director and head football coach Ross Cimpl said. "These two teams made history three seasons ago when they played the first football game in Mount Marty school history. Adding a name and trophy to this game just adds to the excitement of this matchup between two great programs and universities. We are looking forward to the future of this rivalry and the excitement and energy it will bring to our fans, players, and alumni."

The two schools announced the creation of the Dakota Railroad Rivalry during the men's and women's basketball games between the two schools on Saturday in Yankton. The schools will announce at a later date the creation of a traveling trophy that will be housed at the winning university each year.

DWU also currently plays for the Chamber of Commerce Cup in football with Dakota State University, a traveling trophy introduced in 2017 and won for the first time by the Tigers in 2023. It is sponsored by the local chambers of commerce in both Madison and Mitchell.