Black Diamond Trophy to be awarded at WVU, VT matchup once again

Published: Aug. 31, 2017 at 7:29 PM EDT
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When the Hokies face off with the Mountaineers Sunday, they'll be playing for the Black Diamond Trophy.

A company with locations in both Virginia and West Virginia is finding themselves right in the middle of the rivalry.

Rish Equipment is the company that started this trophy tradition 20 years ago. From 1997 to 2005 it was the prized award both the Hokies and the Mountaineers wanted.

Now 12 years since their last match up, it will be presented to one of those teams again.

"It has a lot of meaning and I think it has a lot of meaning for this game coming up. It's talked about a lot," said Steve Hamilton, the managing director for Rish Equipment in Bluefield, West Virginia.

Hamilton has fond memories of the trophy. He's helped present it to the Hokies and Mountaineers since its inception.

"And I think it showcases that Rish Equipment Company is still around, still active in both schools and shows great support to them," Hamilton said.

Hamilton is a proud Mountaineer. It's easy to see by the decorations in his office. And he's ready to see the trophy in the hands of a winning team again.

"Obviously I'd be partial to West Virginia but I'm happy wherever it goes because it's a win win for everybody," Hamilton said.

The Black Diamond Trophy is much more than a prize, it's a symbol honoring the regions rich history in the coal industry.

This renewed rivalry match up isn't as tested in the office as it used to be, but for Hamilton it brings back great memories of a sibling rivalry. His brother, who died years ago, was a Hokie.

"We always had great times over it and we never had any bad words over it we're just like, will my school beat your school and that was it," Hamilton said.

In 1997 the company also started an athletic scholarship that's continued for 20 years at both Virginia Tech and West Virginia University. Hamilton will be at the game and on the field when the trophy is awarded this Sunday at FedEx field.