Passed down from generation to generation, our traditions bind us together as one Rams family and remind us of our Aggie roots. They ground us in our founding principles and create moments that become fond memories shared across generations.
The thunderous and often startling boom of cannon fire has been part of Aggie and Ram football game-day experience since 1920, making it one of our oldest – and loudest – traditions. Army ROTC cadets manage “Comatose,” firing blank shells each time the Rams score. Alumni are among those chosen as guest cannoneers who have the high honor of firing Comatose before kickoff.
Painting the A
Aggie students voted to emblazon an “A” on a hill west of campus during a special assembly held December 4, 1923. Work began shortly after, but wasn’t completed until September the following year. It stretched 450 feet from top to bottom, and 210 feet across at its widest point. Today, the lighting of the A lifts school spirit to even greater heights during Homecoming & Family Weekend’s Friday Night Lights event.
Left: Painting the “A,” October 28, 1927
The Old Main Bell
Around 1910, Colorado Agricultural College acquired a bell and installed it in the tower of Old Main, the center of student activity on campus at the time. Manufactured in 1894 and weighing nearly 500 pounds, the bell originally announced the start of classes each day. Later, its peals signified triumph on the football field. The bell stopped chiming around 1919, and its whereabouts were a mystery.
The bell’s fate remained a mystery until 2016, when it was anonymously returned to the CSU Alumni Association. Since the time the bell was stolen around 1919, it had been well cared for by generations of loyal Aggies and Rams, until the timing was right for it to find a permanent home in the Iris & Michael Smith Alumni Center. In the spirit of honoring our history and reviving one of our oldest traditions, the Alumni Association and the Associated Students of Colorado State University worked together to restore the bell. The Old Main Bell now hangs in the Jim and Nadine Henry Family Tower outside the Smith Alumni Center. The Old Main Bell rings once again, reminding current students and alumni everywhere that we are proud to be CSU Rams.
Left: The Alumni Association welcomed Linda and Bob Cates as Honorary Old Main Bell ringers for the 2021 Homecoming game.
CAM the Ram
CAM the Ram is the official mascot of Colorado State and is cared for by a group of student volunteers called the Ram Handlers. The Colorado A&M student body voted to call themselves “Rams” in 1945, the college’s diamond anniversary. The first woolly mascot, a ram named Buck, made his debut at a basketball game against Denver University on Jan. 11, 1946.
The Bronze Boot
In 1967, it was decided that the annual Border War needed a traveling trophy, and several ideas were presented. Capt. Dan Romero, an assistant professor of military science at CSU and Vietnam veteran, came up with the idea of bronzing one of his battle-worn boots. The Bronze Boot story had begun.
In the early years – it was first awarded during the inaugural season at Hughes Stadium in 1968 – the trophy was somewhat obscure. Many fans had no idea the trophy had been created, and the Rocky Mountain Collegian even called it the “Brass Boot” in one of its stories.
But over the years the trophy took its place among the most recognized in college football, joining other familiar – and unusual – rivalry trophies like the Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana vs. Purdue), Paul Bunyan’s Axe (Minnesota vs. Wisconsin) and the Little Brown Jug (Minnesota vs. Michigan).