By Ben Warwick

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s the end of an era in Boulder. Specifically, it’s the end of the Raphie V era.

The University of Colorado’s live mascot, Ralphie V, has officially retired. Ralphie V has been the live buffalo that’s trampled across the CU football field for 12 seasons. Ralphie turned 13 in October, and CU Athletics say she is in great health. A release says the buffalo has lacked “the consistency she had displayed in prior years.”

Mascot Ralphie V escorts the Colorado Buffaloes onto the field to face the Colorado State Rams in the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 1, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Ralphie had missed the last two CU home football games after some changes in temperament raised safety questions for her handlers.

The CU Athletics website explains that as buffaloes age, their speed typically decreases. In Ralphie V’s case, she has been so excited to run that she has been running too fast and not responding to her normal cues.

“She gets so excited to run, she’s so eager to run out on the field that sometimes she forgets to follow those cues and wants to run out a little earlier than we expect,” said John Graves, Ralphie Program manager.

Ralphie will attend CU’s final home game against Washington on November 23rd. She won’t run, but her career will be celebrated.

“Ralphie V has served the department and the university well,” CU Athletic Director Rick George said.  “She has been a very special buffalo and has truly been adored by many. We hope she lives for many years to come and look forward to finding her successor.”

RELATED: ‘Ralphie’ Handlers Decide Against Mascot Taking Field For Second Game

2019 marks the 53rd season that CU has a live buffalo lead the football team onto the field. Over those five decades, Ralphie has been held back from running just five times, including twice this season. CU is 39-37 in her career, including an 8-2 mark against Colorado State in Denver. Ralphie V is the second-longest serving Ralphie. The original buffalo ran at 78 games over 12 seasons.

Athletics personnel are currently in the process of identifying Ralphie VI.

Ben Warwick


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