About the Project
The Gasparilla Bowl introduced a lot of exciting new changes for their 2019 game in Tampa Bay. One of the biggest changes was the introduction of a brand new trophy. Designed to look like a pirate treasure chest, the trophy embodies the spirit of the Tampa Bay area and sheds light on how the bowl game came to share its namesake with one of the most celebrated events in Tampa Bay.
In the past, the St. Petersburg Bowl was hosted in St. Petersburg at the Tropicana Field. The bowl game was recently renamed the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl and in 2018, the event was moved to Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium. The Gasparilla Bowl is organized by ESPN Events. Their goal in moving the bowl game’s location was to generate excitement and enthusiasm for the game, the history of Tampa Bay, and the famous Gasparilla celebration.
The bowl game gets its title from the famous Gasparilla Pirate Festival held in Tampa every year since 1904. The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is a large parade and a host of related community events held throughout the winter and spring months. The festival celebrates the apocryphal legend of José Gaspar, a mythical Spanish pirate who supposedly operated in Southwest Florida in the early 1800s.
Wanting to capture the spirit of Tampa’s most famous celebration, organizers of the Gasparilla Bowl contacted Levy Marketing + Awards about creating a custom trophy. Levy has had the privilege of working with them on several projects in the past. Being asked to design and produce a custom trophy for the Gasparilla Bowl was exciting for many reasons. The project was an opportunity for us to show our creativity while also paying homage to our home city.
Bowl game organizers wanted a pirate-themed trophy that would celebrate the game’s move to the new location and add notoriety to the Tampa Bay area. They sent Levy several concepts involving pirate ships, crashing waves, and other symbols of pirate lore. They challenged Levy to develop several trophy concepts that would give the bowl game a unique and exciting identity.
Hundreds of years ago, pirates lurked in the Gulf of Mexico and invaded Tampa Bay in search of riches. For those who were brave enough to come ashore, a treasure chest of gold doubloons would be their prize. Having conquered the City of Tampa, buccaneers paraded through the city in celebration.
For pirates, the treasure chest is the ultimate trophy. The chest holds the gold and riches they risk their lives for. What better symbol of pirate lore than a treasure chest?
Running with this concept, Levy created a replica treasure chest, complete with working hinges and locks. The chest was made from aged driftwood and decorated with banding that had been stained to look as if it had been underwater. But the Levy design team knew this wasn’t enough to represent the grandeur of Gasparilla or the bowl game event.
The chest would have to be displayed in an open position in order to show off the treasures inside. It was decided that a small platform be built into the center of the treasure chest, making it possible for the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl logo to be elevated on a pedestal in the middle of the chest.
The Gasparilla Pirate Fest is known for the thousands of beads that get thrown from parade floats into crowds of revelers. Event beads come in all colors and designs and represent the gems typically found in a pirate treasure. Working with ESPN Events, custom beads were designed to be used inside the treasure chest. Hand-painted Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl logo pendants hang at the end of each strand of silver beads.
What’s a pirate treasure without gold? To make the treasure look more like a traditional pirate’s treasure, more than 150 custom golf coins were cast and used to fill the chest. A gold baseplate is used to label the trophy base.
When assembled, the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl trophy is a modern take on a real pirate treasure chest. Loose gold coins and beads fill the chest and surround a custom pedestal showcasing the bowl game logo. It’s a symbol of Gasparilla, Tampa, and spirited competition.
Most Valuable Player
A smaller version of the Gasparilla Bowl trophy was constructed to be used to recognize the bowl game’s Most Valuable Player. The silver logo plate in the center looks exactly like the one mounted in the center of the Championship Trophy, only smaller. This smaller version of the logo plate was the first item to be cast in Levy’s new castor machine. The trophy is filled with gold coins and beads to match the Championship Trophy.
Delivery and Set Up
Prior to game day, the trophies were put on display at a Gasparilla Bowl welcome party held at the Florida Aquarium. They were displayed in front of a large fish tank as if to mimic the look of being under water. Guests at the party were welcome to take photos of the trophies and see their craftsmanship in up-close detail. Levy staff members delivered and set up the trophy display. They even stood by to make sure the pirate treasure inside the chest didn’t go missing.
Display and Presentation
At last, it was game day! On December 20, 2018, Levy staff delivered the trophies to Raymond James Stadium and helped set them up for display. Once the game was finished, Levy staff assisted in transporting the display to the center of the football field to be presented to the winner.
Players, coaches, and fans are delighted by the new look of the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Trophy. Levy Marketing + Awards is proud to call Tampa Bay home and we are excited to share a piece of our city’s culture with collegiate athletes from across the United States. For us, not only does the trophy represent our company and the hours of hard work and dedication we put into designing each piece, but it is also a symbol of our community and a glimpse at how pirate folklore has shaped Tampa Bay’s history.
We are excited to be part of the event again next year!