Ralphie’s handlers give us a behind the scenes look.


John Graves, the CU Buff’s Live Mascot Program Manager for Ralphie (V), joined our meeting Friday with two of the fifteen student handlers.

Ralphie V, CU’s enigmatic, live mascot, loves to run the football field. John Graves describes the “newest” Ralphie as playful and fun. He’s known her since she was just six months old. He met her when he was just a student then, and has developed a close relationship with her over the last eleven years. Yes- Ralphie is a female. She is five feet tall and 1200 pounds of buffalo- a male buffalo, on average, is six to seven feet tall and can weigh up to 2200 pounds. Ralphie has five handlers while on the field, they must be able to control her - therefore, the smaller female buffalo is our beloved mascot.

John described CU’s mascot program which is now in the 50th season at CU. He brought two “rookie” (freshmen) handlers to help answer questions about the program. Rachel Demby and Ryan Bennett helped John answer questions for nearly 20 minutes. Questions like, “how do you get to be a handler?” (Hint: you have to be a full time student, submit an application, complete an essay and conduct three 100 yard sprints): Ralphie runs close to twenty miles per hour on the field, the handlers have to train hard to keep up; and no one could temp the handlers to disclose where Ralphie calls home. Ralphie’s home will always be a secret location. Ralphie I was stolen by the Air Force Academy and her health and well being is always a priority- therefore, secret location.

When will Ralphie V retire? Sometime in the next few years, probably. John told us she will decide that herself when she no longer longs to run the field, “you can’t make a 1200 pound buffalo do anything she doesn’t want to do.” Ted Turner has donated the last two Ralphies, we may see Ralphie VI in the next few years and you can bet John and his team will be right there with her on the field.