Pick out an item from Ron Pomfrey’s sports collection.
Ron encyclopedic mind rattles off the tiniest of details related to the thousands of his relics he owns.
But one collectible sitting on his mantel has stumped Ron for 30 years -- a dented trophy nine decades old.
“This particular one I purchased at an antique shop. It was $100. That was a lot of money for me back then 30 years ago. Still is,” said Ron. “West Point Football League Championship. 1929.”
Ron posted a picture of the well-worn keepsake online this spring.
Tim Brown could not believe his eyes.
“What is unique in the picture is that every player in the picture is Black,” said Tim. “And West Point did not have Black players till 1966.”
The question of how the well-worn trophy found its way to an antique shop in Hanover may never be answered. But after 90+ years, the soldiers captured in black and white are finally getting some recognition.
“Knowing the circumstances behind winning that trophy adds to its value, and I’m not talking about monetary value. It just adds to the value. For me it is a magical trophy,” said Tim.
The team? West Point Buffalo Soldiers from the late 1920s -- some of whom played on that 1929 Championship team.
Segregation prevented these cavalrymen from playing with Cadets, so they formed their own team.
"This was an opportunity for them to be treated equally,” said Tim.
The calvary detachment played semi-pro and other college teams from New York to Philadelphia.
“They quickly became quite good,” said Tim.
Turns out, the horsemen were a force to be reckoned with.
“In late 20s and early 30s, according to local newspapers, they went undefeated. And went three years without being scored upon,” said Tim.
Their talents led them to a championship on the field and -- quite possibly -- respect off it.