Over 1, entries arrived from almost every state. However, a few days later, the newspaper declared Boulder resident A. Live buffaloes made appearances at Colorado games on and off throughout the early years, usually in a pen on the field or sometimes driven around in a trailer.
In the s, the school kept a baby buffalo in a special pen at the University Riding Academy. The first named buffalo was "Mr. Chips," who appeared for the first time at the CU Days Kickoff Rally and was cared for by a men's honorary society.
In the Student Body Government decided that the University of Colorado Boulder needed a full time live buffalo mascot. One story says the Student Body Government held a "Name the Buffalo" contest and received many entries. Another story says that "Ralph" was chosen as her name by the Student Body Government in reference to the noise made when throwing up.
What is known for sure is that the original spelling of her name was "Rraalph" but was changed to "Ralphie" at the end of the football season. Ralphie first appeared on the sidelines of a football game on October 1, Colorado beat Kansas State Around that same time, head football coach Eddie Crowder was approached with the idea of the buffalo charging out on the field before the game, the team closely following.
After much discussion, the debut of this great tradition took place on September 16, Colorado beat Baylor Ever since then Ralphie has been leading the way as the football team takes the field. After the football season, the Student Body Government realized it was not smart to have it be the tradition for the Sophomore Class Officers to run with Ralphie, and instead it would be better to have trained individuals with large animal experience take the tradition over.
The Ralphie Live Mascot Program has since evolved, becoming a prestigious athletic endeavor for 15 student athletes and buffalo enthusiasts. Lowery bought the calf from rancher Art Kashcke.
Ralphie first attended a game on October 1, when Colorado played Kansas State. Ralphie did not run onto the field during the game, but stood on the sideline and slept in her trailer.
Colorado won the game She attended the remaining three home football games that year, standing on the sidelines. Around that same time, head football coach Eddie Crowder was approached with the idea of the buffalo charging out onto the field before the game, the team closely following.
After much discussion, the debut of this great tradition took place on September 16, , when Colorado played Baylor. Ralphie I attended every Colorado home football game for 13 years, including all bowl games, and retired at the end of the season.
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The team matured too, selecting and training knowledgeable Handlers. The Handlers wore classic western attire while working with Ralphie, and initially would wear their cowboy boots when running with Ralphie. In the Handlers began to wear athletic shoes when running with Ralphie instead of cowboy boots, finding that it was easier to run faster and guide Ralphie while in athletic shoes.
Hays not only cared for and trained Ralphie, he was also the coach of the Colorado Rodeo Club. In the off-season Ralphie lived on the pastures at Hidden Valley Ranch, where Hays also kept his herd of buffalo, located north of Boulder.
Ralphie traveled in a modified steel, brown, 4-horse trailer, donated by Hays. She used a custom harness and headstall made by Ray Cornell out of Boulder, Colorado that lead ropes were attached to allow the Handlers to run with her and help guide her around the field.
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Ralphie I also had four calves, the sire of the claves was a large bull at Hidden Valley Ranch named Barney. In April 27, , Buffie, named by Colorado students, was born, but died from pneumonia on October 18, She made one public appearance on October 14, at the Colorado Homecoming game against Iowa State , standing on the sidelines.
On April 16, , her third calf, Streaker, was born, but died from an accident on the ranch in October Her fourth and final calf was Spirit who was born in August She ran during the second half run of the CU vs.
Missouri game behind Ralphie I. CU beat Missouri She was sold to a local rancher shortly after, not having the correct disposition to become the next Ralphie.
Colorado lost to Iowa State.
Ralphie I died on May 13, , she was 16 years old. Hays discovered a yearling buffalo named Moonshine, owned by Gregg C. Ralphie II was originally named Moon as she was born during a lunar eclipse. Her mother unfortunately died during labor, and she was raised by ranch hands on the Broken Spear Ranch.
Her name changed to Moonshine as a more fitting name for a female buffalo. Mackenzie continued to train Ralphie II and was an assistant coach when Buddy Hays left in , until Jim Wright, who was a former Handler, took charge over coaching duties from — In , Ken Kramer, a Handler from — , took over the leadership of the program until after serving as an assistant coach in Ralphie II made her debut on November 18, , the final home game of the season.
Standing on the sideline as Ralphie I made her final run around the field for the first half run, Ralphie II took over for the second half run. Colorado lost to Iowa State, but the Ralphie Program and name became a tradition.
Ralphie II was transported around in the same modified steel, brown, 4-horse trailer that Ralphie I used. Initially Ralphie II used the same custom leather harness that Ralphie I used, but used a different headstall.
In a new harness and headstall was used by Ralphie, this one was built by Carl W.