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Big Ten Countdown: 43 - The Purdue Cannon/Drum

I'm going to quote a couple articles because I don't know much about the Drum and Cannon. From the pictures I've seen, the Cannon looks like a pea shooter and the drum looks, big and monotonous.

We won't play Purdue until 2013/2014 and they are currently undefeated against us (1-0). I remember the Joe Tiller era and Drew Brees. They had a really good team back then and they were fun to watch, but it's been hard times lately in West Lafayette, IN.

In 1905, several Purdue students, anticipating a Boilermaker victory, took a small cannon with them when they traveled to the Purdue-Illinois football game in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. They placed the cannon in what they believed to be a safe place near the University of Illinois' football field.

This safe place, however, was not as safe as they would have liked, for several members of Illinois' Delta Upsilon fraternity, including Quincy A. Hall, found the cannon in its hiding place. "Confiscating" the cannon, they took it back to their fraternity house. When Mr. Hall graduated, he took the cannon with him to his home in Milford, Illinois. In 1942 after the cannon had survived a house fire and years of collecting dust, Mr. Hall proposed that the cannon become a trophy representing the rivalry between Purdue and Illinois. This proposal was accepted, and in 1943 the first Cannon game was played.

The current cannon is actually the second cannon, with the first cannon having been destroyed in a firing mishap. The pieces of the original cannon were returned to Purdue, and their current location is unknown. The cannon itself was last fired on October 24, 1983 during halftime in Champaign-Urbana.

Currently, Purdue leads the series 30-27-2

Ever since it was first presented in 1921 by Purdue Bands Director Paul Spotts Emrick, the Big Bass Drum has added its unique voice to the instruments of the "All-American" Marching Band - serving as a reassuring constant throughout the Band's history. The drum strikes the beat of the music, serving as the heart of the band and keeping all the other elements in line and in time.

Standing more than 10 feet high when mounted on its field carriage, the "monster" measures about eight feet in diameter and is nearly four feet wide between its two heads. The drum is still the original instrument built by Leedy Corporation of Indianapolis in 1921.

The first drums sported heads made from mammoth steer hides imported from South America, but now Remo Corporation produces synthetic drum heads which are changed as needed. Over the years it has become a tradition for celebrities to sign drum heads and old heads filled with signatures are kept in the Bands Department. Among the many notables are astronauts Gus Grissom and Neil Armstrong, and former president Harry Truman.

The drum is handled by a crew of four silver-helmeted bandsmen, who are selected for their strength and agility, along with two beaters. They painstakingly rehearse every movement of the "Monster" drum to assure its being in the right place at the right time in accordance with the split-second timing necessary for the fast-paced shows presented by the "All-American" Band.