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The Fabulous Fib

Throughout its 125-year history, the Argonaut’s various staff claimed that the paper was “never too big to engage in a little frivolity.” They were known to periodically offer contests for the campus community to compete in. There was a contest to name the University’s varsity team; pumpkin carving; best FBI Joke; a clone contest which readers sent in names of people they’d like to see cloned; and the “Claim to Fame” contest in which the winner of each round won a carton of cigarettes, and the grand prize was five bucks.

In 1957, it was the “Fabulous Fibs” contest. The winner would be selected by past masters in the field, all members of the Fibbers Federation of North America. The judges were Gale Mix, general manager of Associated Students; Jim Lyle, Director of Alumni Relations; Rafe Gibbs, University Director of Information who in 1962 would pen Beacon for Mountain and Plain: Story of the University of Idaho; and Betty Potter, president of Alpha Phi sorority.

Amongst the rules was an admonition that the submitted story had to be a genuine “Fib.” Also, contestants were warned that entries must be printable and without “possible chance of libel suits.” Argonaut staff could not compete.

Pitchfork And Prize
Pitchfork And Prize

The staff wrote that the event was necessitated by so many tall tales being retold over the years on campus that never made it into the “University’s limelight.”

“An effort was made in 1909 to establish a “Fibs” contest, but it soon failed. A number of agriculture majors were planning the program in one of the University barns, when a twister from Kansas collapsed the building.”

First prize was teased to be five dollars and a “beautiful silver trophy with a mahogany wood base which is designed for the contest” which turned out to be a pitchfork.

The winner was Barbara Riedeman, a junior majoring in science and a member of Steel House (The Steel House cooperative living group recently gifted Special Collections and Archives their scrapbooks).

Here is her winning Fib which tells of a freshman defying the system by planning to pass required courses with no effort on his part:

Challenging Chem--FABULOUS Fib
Challenging Chem--FABULOUS Fib


“Arg to Launch ‘Fabulous Fib’,” The Argonaut, 18 Jan. 1957.

“Entries in Name Contest Come Slow,” The Argonaut, 5 Oct. 1920.

“‘Fib’ Contest Closes Feb. 13 Says Flanigan,” The Argonaut, 22 Jan. 1957.

Gem of the Mountains 1961.

“Golden Fleece by Jason,” The Argonaut, 14 Mar. 1947.

MG 588 Steel House Scrapbooks

“Miss Riedeman Biggest Fibber, Given Trophy,” The Argonaut, 5 Mar. 1957.

Riedeman, Barbara. “Challenging Chem—FABULOUS Fib,” The Argonaut, 5 Mar. 1957.

“Send in the Clones,” The Argonaut, 13 Dec. 1977.

Sutton, Lorna. “Hideous, humerous(sic), handsome pumpkins receive awards,” The Argonaut, 30 Oct 1970.

“Win Big Prizes; New joke contest,” The Argonaut, May 7, 1971.

“Win cigarettes in New Contest,” The Argonaut, 22 Feb. 1949.

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