When Sherman Mayor David Plyler received the Denison Yellow Jackets jersey he was to wear during Monday’s City Council meeting, he was surprised to see his named emblazoned on the back.
Plyler spent the entirety of the meeting wearing the Yellow Jackets No. 67 jersey because the Sherman Bearcats lost this year’s Battle of the Ax game against their rivals from the north. He was making good on his wager with Denison Mayor Janet Gott that said the mayor of the losing city would wear the jersey of the other team during a council meeting. Following the meeting, Plyler said he was excited it was personalized this year.
“This may be my personal jersey now,” he said. “I think they want it back, but I may decide to keep it.”
The Battle of the Ax win was the sixth straight by Denison, but Monday marked just the third time Plyler has had to don a Yellow Jackets jersey, as he was elected about two weeks after the Bearcats’ loss to Denison in 2015.
Gott became Denison’s mayor earlier this year after running unopposed to replace former Mayor Jared Johnson, who had reached his term limit in the position. Johnson left his former position with the Yellow Jackets boasting a 5-1 record against Sherman during his tenure in office.
The mayor’s wager grew out of a dinner Sherman and Denison city staff and council members shared during the Texas Municipal League Conference two years ago and the history of the mayors’ wager shared by former Sherman Mayor Bill Magers and former Denison Mayor Robert Brady.
Magers and Brady had a long-standing wager tied to the game in which the losing mayor had to pose for a photo wearing the winning team’s jersey with the photo then displayed at the winning mayor’s choice of venue. Magers, who is currently the county judge, still displays his autographed picture of Brady in a Sherman No. 50 jersey in his office. When he signed the photo, Brady also wrote, “To my ‘Good Friend Bill’ as the picture indicates this was torture!”
For her part, Gott said Monday’s resolution to the bet has been coming for some time. With the early season game, Gott joked that she didn’t know why it took so long for Plyler to show his true colors. Gott said she provided Plyler his jersey, complete with his name, the week after Denison’s victory.
“All I can say is that it is about time,” Gott said with a laugh.
Despite the rivalry and the ongoing bet, Gott noted that it was all in fun and was quickly becoming a friendly tradition between the mayors. With regard to future bets, Gott said she planned to extend her record beyond 1-0.
“I am not wearing a Bearcat jersey tonight, and I intend to keep it that way,” Gott joked. “I don’t intend to ever wear a Bearcat jersey. That just isn’t something on my bucket list.”