Bets brighten sports rivalry

I’m not sure when it first began, but there’s a longstanding tradition of friendly betting on sports events between the political leaders of each city or state.

Last weekend’s football game between the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints featured at least four such wagers with the bounty ranging from wild alligator to Skittles.

I haven’t seen the stakes yet, but I’m sure similar bets will be proffered up for this weekend’s clash between the Hawks and the San Francisco 49ers.

Any time I hear about these bets, I always feel like the Washington and Seattle folks on the hook are getting the short end of the stick. We’re lucky to live in a region that produces some of the great delicacies of the betting basket realm.

I’m not sure the winners of wild alligator are as thrilled to receive their prize as those on the receiving end of prizes from the Northwest. Between gator and salmon, I don’t think there’s much competition for which region has the better … uh, non-mammal food product.

We’re also blessed with good coffee, great wines and one of the greatest selections of micro-brewed beer in the entire world.

All that without even talking about the produce — apples, cherries, pears and more — that Eastern Washington is famous for.

Other cities have certainly come up with some top-notch spreads for their traditional bets — Chicago typically offers deep-dish pizzas, Kansas City doles out barbecue and New York wagers cheesecake — but others have been downright absurd. In 1983, a gubernatorial bet for the Super Bowl between the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins saw a live pig offered up on one side — weird, but not all that abnormal.

The other governor? He responded in kind with several thousand bees.

Who knows what will be wagered this weekend between Washington and California, but we do know the winner of Sunday’s game will earn a trip to the Super Bowl — which is worth a far cry more than a box of chocolates. Go Hawks.

Garrett Rudolph is the managing editor of The Chronicle. He can be reached at 509-826-1110 or via email at


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