CU is hot right now, and the live mascot who’s been leading the football team onto the field for nearly five decades is having a moment too.
There’s now a whole exhibit dedicated to Ralphie at the CU Heritage Center.
The ‘Here Comes Ralphie’ exhibit shows visitors the Ralphie’s nearly 50-year history. The main Buff has been running onto the field ahead of Buff’s football games since 1967.
The exhibit is in celebration of the five-decade old tradition and will highlight the five Ralphies in the school’s history, and the student handlers who have taken care of her along the way.
The CU’s current head of the Ralphie Live Mascot Program, John Graves, says he really wanted to get as much history and facts about Ralphie and the program’s inception into the exhibit. Graves says the university’s live mascot program is consistently rated as the number one program in the country, and it’s something the school really takes pride in. The exhibit is a combination of facts, pictures and stories from previous handlers at CU. The stories and pictures go back to the sixties, seventies, and eighties.
“We really want to document history, and tell the full story about Ralphie, and so in doing that we worked with the Heritage Center on campus compiling facts and listening to stories from handlers in the past and their time spent running with Ralphie,” Grave says.
University of Colorado became the Buffaloes in 1934, since then there have been various live mascots hanging out at the games. Graves says the student body government came up with the idea to have a full time live mascot at all the football games.
In 1966 Ralphie I came to the University and stood on the sideline for all the home games. In 1967, that was changed. The students wanted to get people excited and decided to run Ralphie out in front of the team. Everyone liked it so much they kept doing it, and now it’s become a tradition. So far, there have been five Ralphies, all girls.
Graves is a former handler with the program so the new exhibit is definitely something he can appreciate.
"It’s truly special to see all the history in one place, talking about all the years Ralphie has been running for the University. It’s a great tradition and to just see all the people involved in the program over the years and you know, it’s such a great tradition... to see all the people who have been involved in the program over the years and to hear what it was like running with Ralphie in the past. It’s just so fascinating.”
You can read more about the exhibit here.
You can see more about the live mascot program at CU here.