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Team History - Colorado Buffaloes - History
The official colors of CU are silver and gold. According
to the book Glory Colorado, these colors were adopted by
the class of 1888, as a symbol of the mineral wealth of
this state. But in 1921, as football became more popular,
there were complaints from the students that silver and
gold did not look good on football jerseys. In fact, silver
and gold ended up looking like dirty gray and dark yellow.
It wasn't until 1959 that the football team changed its
jerseys to black with yellow. And although the football
team seems to have set the trend with its color choice,
CU still has the official colors of silver and gold.
The buffalo first appeared in 1934, three weeks after a
contest to select an official school nickname by the Silver
and Gold newspaper had come to an end and "Buffaloes"
was the winning entry. The nickname was officially bestowed
upon the school's teams at halftime of the Homecoming game
against Utah. For the final game of the '34 season, some
students paid $25 to rent a buffalo calf mascot along with
a real cowboy as his keeper. It took the cowboy and four
students to keep the calf under control on the sidelines,
a 7-0 win over the University of Denver on Thanksgiving
Prior to 1934, CU athletic teams usually were referred
to as the "Silver and Gold", but other nicknames
teams were sometimes called included Silver Helmets, Yellow
Jackets, Hornets, Arapahoes, Big Horns, Grizzlies and Frontiersmen.
The campus newspaper announced the contest in the fall of
1934, with a $5 prize to go to the author of the winning
selection. Claude Bates of New Madrid, Mo., and James Proffitt
of Cincinnati, Ohio, were co-winners for the prize as both
submitted Buffaloes as their entry. Athletic Director Harry
Carlson, graduate manager Walter Franklin and Kenneth Bundy
of the Silver and Gold were the judges. Through the years,
synonyms which quickly came into use included "Bison",
"Buffs", "Thundering Herd", "Stampeding
Herd", "Golden Avalanche", and "Golden
The "Ralphie" tradition began October 1, 1966
when Buddy Hays of Boulder's Hidden Valley Ranch first brought
a six-month old buffalo calf to Folsom Field. The parade
around the then-existing cinder track was relatively inconspicuous.
From that time on, the pre-game and second half charges
of Ralphie around the perimeter of the playing field (and
often through the ranks of visiting teams) has been one
of the great spectacles of college athletics.
CU, not UC
A question often asked of many former Big Eight schools:
Why is it the University of Colorado, but the moniker is
CU and not UC? (The same applies at Kansas-KU, Missouri-MU,
Nebraska-NU and Oklahoma-OU). "Midwestern casualness,"
says CU historian Fred Casotti. It has always been this
way at Colorado, for whatever reason, and at the other four
listed above-but seemingly nowhere else in the USA.
In the 1950s, there was a concerted effort to eliminate
the use of "CU" on the Boulder campus, both as
a symbol and in speech, but Casotti said that no one would
buy into it. "Nobody would change," he said. "It's
easier to say than U of C, UC sounds like slang or something
(as in 'you see'), and it was traditional. By trying to
eliminate it, they reinforced it."
Ralphie the Buffalo
The University of Colorado has the most unique mascot in
all of intercollegiate atheltics, a real buffalo named Ralphie.
The live buffalo mascot, actually "Ralphie IV,"
will continue the tradition of leading the football team
out on the field both at the start of the game and the second
It is truly one of the special sights that exists anywhere
in college or professional sports, especially for opposing
teams, who often stop in their tracks watching the massive
buffalo round the end zone and head directly at their sideline.
CU Fight Song
Fight CU down the field,
CU must win
Fight, fight for victory
CU knows no defeat
We'll roll up a mighty score
Never give in
Shoulder to shoulder
We will fight, fight
Fight, fight, fight!
Hail, all hail our alma mater
Ever will our hearts be true
You will live with us forever
Loyal will we be to you
We sing forever your praises
Evermore our love renew
Pledge our whole devotion to you
Dear old CU.
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