Be The Champ When You Get Home: Give Them a Rookwood Cup From Cincy
Steve Fogleman, Tennis Atlantic
When it rains at a tennis tournament, you have two choices: shop or eat. I was able do a lot of both during the rainy opening days of this year’s Western & Southern Open outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. I ate well and shopped well–and look what I found.
Guess what you’re getting from my Cincinnati trip, honey? What you’ve always wanted! A small replica of the Rookwood Cup, the official trophy of the Western & Southern Open.
For the first time ever, Rookwood Pottery is offering a limited number of trophy clones for sale to the general public. Stop by the Rookwood booth during the tournament and check them out. Sculptors scaled down the original trophy and made master cast plaster molds to produce 2000 kiln-fired, hand-casted replicas.
Although the real Rookwood Cup, in all of its glory, is bigger than the numbered replicas, you’ll be happy to know that even the champions of this event go home with smaller versions of the cup. That’s because the real cup permanently rests atop a walnut base with every champion’s name engraved on the sterling silver panels around it. The big cup in the above photo is one of the three real trophies.
The replicas are the brainchild of Rookwood Pottery CEO Micah Carroll, brought on board the company just a year ago.
“When they brought me in here, I knew we needed to revitalize the brand and the Western & Southern Open is one of our biggest partnerships for our products on the national stage, with the trophy. We came up with the idea of something commemorative, and since it’s so unique to all the other trophies, producing the replicas was common sense to us”.
The 16-ounce trophy is a ‘muted’ version of the painted cup, Carroll explained, so it would be affordable to consumers. “If we were to paint it, the cost of each one would be around $250”, he said.
Kim Clijsters reportedly fell in love with the Rookwood Cup the minute she hoisted it as a 2010 singles champion. To be sure, it’s a different-looking trophy, vintage Arts and Crafts, with acanthus leaves symbolizing early Olympians and athletic acheivement. While names like Tiffany and Waterford supplied the Cincinnati trophies for many years until 2010, hometown Rookwood was the original supplier of hardware for the first installment of this sporting event.
In 1899, the winning women’s doubles team received Rookwood vases and the men’s singles winner got a tankard and ale mugs supplied by the now 136-year-old Cincinnati company. In fact, the company was the first female-owned manufacturing company in the US. Remember, the Western & Southern Open is the oldest tennis tournament in the States still played in its original city. That’s a lot of history in a little vessel.
At $68, it seems a little pricey for a tournament souvenir at first glance, but when you consider that tournament-logo golf shirts go for $50 and up, this little cup is a unique piece of history and a keepsake that you shouldn’t miss. When you learn about the work that went into creating it, it seems like a better gift than anything else you can find at a professional sporting event. It’s easily the most interesting souvenir I’ll bring home from a tournament in a long time. Though this might sound like a paid review, I can assure you it is not. This little trophy will be the champion of our tchotchke case.