Published: Sept. 1, 2017

Ralphie Parts of the story are well known — documented, verified, as certain as can be. Others are subject to interpretation.

A few parts have been repeated so often that they feel true and important, though the evidence may be thin, contested or dubious.

That’s the nature of legends.

In this case, it all adds up to the story of a live buffalo mascot called Ralphie, admired by generations of alumni, friends, fans and — dare we say it — rivals of the University of Colorado Boulder.

You’ve probably heard about the time, back in 1934, when the Silver & Gold student newspaper sponsored a contest to identify a new and permanent nickname for CU, which had been known variously as the Silver and Gold, Frontiersmen, Thundering Herd and other names. More than 1,000 responses flooded in, including six recommending the buffaloes.

We all know who came out on top.

Legends are a mix of hard truth and inherited belief. This fall, should you witness all 1,200 pounds of Ralphie V charging down Folsom Field, there won’t be anything vague about the feeling you get. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Ralphie live mascot tradition, we’ve assembled pieces of Ralphie's story, some past, some present. Some of you surely know details that escaped us, or perhaps remember things differently. For posterity’s sake, we hope you’ll let us know.

As a mascot, Ralphie has entered her sixth decade. Won’t you come see her again?


Read more about Ralphie:


First Class Treatment 

Ralphie's game-day schedule 


Q&A with Ralphie's Vets

Hear from Drs. Lori and Michael Scott


Other Live Mascots

See other university mascots, from CSU's CAM to Yale's Handsome Dan  


Girl's Got Game

Ralphie helps pay her own way in life — but the fans do the heavy lifting

Photo by Randy Parietti Photography (top); University of Colorado, Colorado State University