The annual Battle of the Ax football game between Sherman and Denison has a storied history that is quite impressive even for nonnative Texomans like myself. But every year when the game comes around, I greatly enjoy writing and reading stories on the rivalry and various competitions the cities take part in each year.

I know everyone says the rivalry is good-natured, and the mayors of each town clearly back that up, but I’ve met quite a few people who take it all very seriously. The people with split loyalties are the ones I find the most interesting, like those born in one city and now working in another.

Some are good-natured about it, like how Sherman Fire-Rescue Chief Danny Jones was when he told Sherman Mayor David Plyler that he enjoyed seeing Plyler in a Yellow Jackets jersey last year after Sherman lost the Battle of the Ax game. But others would rather not talk about their split loyalties too much.

I know a couple former elected officials in Sherman who didn’t really talk about growing up in Denison. I’d certainly like to think where someone was born wouldn’t matter to voters, but I don’t know if that’s the case.

But my favorite aspect of the annual rivalry is the traditional mayor’s wager on the outcome. Grayson County Judge Bill Magers still lights up when I ask him about his rivalry with former Denison Mayor Robert Brady when Magers was Sherman’s mayor. And the city’s current mayors, Sherman’s David Plyler and Denison’s Jared Johnson, are clearly having a lot of fun with the rivalry, as is evident by the light trash talk each gives when we ask them about the game.

Plyler lost the wager last year in his first time as mayor for the game and then did not appear happy to be wearing a Denison jersey during that council meeting last year. He dutifully wore it throughout the meeting and said recently that it wasn’t too bad, but I know he’d definitely prefer not to have to repeat the action this year.

With a winning streak of four straight by the Yellow Jackets, Johnson is clearly feeling good about his chances again this year. So it’ll definitely be interesting to see who comes out on top on Friday.

Happy birthday Thursday to Patricia Onley of Richardson; and Marvin Ruffin of Sherman.

Happy anniversary Thursday to John and Judy Robinson of Sherman.