The New Mexico Bowl trophy is one of the most unique in all of college sports. It is a Native American clay pot meticulously handcrafted by artists Marcellus and Elizabeth Media from the Zia Pueblo. The 20-inch bowl-shaped pottery features the iconic Zia sun symbol and images of football players, a deer, mountain lion, buffalo and eagle.
Elizabeth hand-coils and fires the pottery at the couple’s home studio and her husband, Marcellus, paints the clay trophies. Using a white base coat on the pot makes the Zia patterns stand out after being hand-painted in black. His final touch is colored acrylic paints depicting football players in classic game stances and logos for the participating teams, not to mention the New Mexico Bowl insignia. At top market value, the pots would sell for an estimated $2,500.
The New Mexico Bowl stuck with the unconventional for its Outstanding Offensive and Defensive Player Awards. They went to another Zia Pueblo artist, Ralph Aragon, who crafted the trophies from traditional leather shields.
Jeff Siembieda, New Mexico Bowl Executive Director, found all three artists in 2006 when he traveled to the pueblo, located approximately 30 miles northwest of Albuquerque, looking for permission to use the Zia sun in its logo. The tribal leaders gave there consent and in return, asked that Zia art be used for the awards.
Team Trophy Winners
2006: San Jose State (WAC)
2007: New Mexico (MWC)
2008: Colorado State (MWC)
2009: Wyoming (MWC)
2010: BYU (MWC)
2011: Temple (MAC)
2012: Arizona (Pac-12)
2013: Colorado State (MW)
Outstanding Offensive Player Honorees
2006: James Jones, Sr., WR, SJSU
2007: Donovan Porterie, RS-Fr., QB, UNM
2008: Gartrell Johnson, Sr., RB, CSU
2009: Austyn Carta-Samuels, Fr., QB, UWyo
2010: Jake Heaps, Fr., QB, BYU
2011: Chris Coyer, So., QB, TEM
2012: Matt Scott, Sr., QB, ARIZ
2013: Connor Halliday, Jr., QB, WSU
Outstanding Defensive Player Honorees
2006: Matt Castelo, Jr., LB, SJSU
2007: Brett Madsen, Jr., LB, UNM
2008: Tommie Hill, Sr., DE, CSU
2009: Mitch Unrein, Sr., DL, UWyo
2010: Andrew Rich, Sr., S, BYU
2011: Tahir Whitehead, Sr., LB, TEM
2012: Marquis Flowers, Jr., LB, ARIZ
2013: Shaquil Barrett, Sr., DE, CSU