Folsom Field has been home to the Colorado Buffaloes football team for 93 years, and it is revered as one of the most beautiful settings in the nation for a sporting event. Folsom Field is also the home of the most popular and unique mascot in all of intercollegiate athletics, a real buffalo named “Ralphie.” In 1934, “Buffaloes” was chosen as the official CU nickname and mascot, and a group of students brought a buffalo calf to the final home football game. Live buffaloes made appearances off and on over the next three decades, but in 1967, the current Ralphie program was born. Then coach and athletic director Eddie Crowder allowed a group of student handlers to run a live buffalo out onto the field with the CU team right behind her; it was an instant hit and one of college football’s greatest traditions came into being. The mascot was originally named “Ralph”—until, as legend has it, someone noticed she was actually (ahem) a female.
On game days much of the campus can be seen bedecked in black and gold, headed to the stadium for the game. The stadium is named in honor of Fred Folsom, an athlete and law professor who came to CU in 1895. Unlike many university stadiums, Folsom Field is located right on the main campus.
The excitement of intercollegiate athletics is only part of its importance to the campus and community. In May, commencement is held in Folsom Field. On Memorial Day, the field serves as the finish of the BolderBoulder, one of the largest and most highly acclaimed road races in the world. And on the Fourth of July, thousands of people fill the stadium for Ralphie’s Independence Day Blast, featuring the best fireworks in Boulder County.
BIRTH OF THE BUFFS
In the fall of 1934, the Silver and Gold student newspaper announced a contest to pick a nickname for the varsity football team. Until then, a variety of names had been used, including the Wolves, the Silver & Gold and the Frontiersmen. Contest entries included the Eagles, Elks, Moose, Yellow Jackets, Hornets, Greyhounds and Sourdoughs, to name a few. The selection committee picked Buffaloes, and students rented a buffalo calf to run around the field prior to the final game of the season. So was born one of the most majestic and popular college mascots in the country.