Fans, students and alumni gathered under the September sun in
front of Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium for the 23rd annual
Ag Day celebration on Saturday.
Laughter, talking and music filled the tailgating party, which
preceded CSU’s 1 p.m. football game against Montana State
Ag Day got its start in 1981 when Fum McGraw and Bill Thomas of
the College of Agriculture came up with the concept.
“Football was not very popular at the time so they started Ag
Day to bring people out to the stadium,” said Jim Heird, who has
been the event co-chairman since 1990. This is Heird’s last year in
the position. He will be the new director of CSU Equine
In recent years, Ag Day has drawn so many tailgaters that
organizers had to limit the number of tickets sold to 3,500. All
proceeds from ticket sales go toward college scholarships, and
Colorado companies donate all of the food.
Steve Gabel, a CSU alumnus, took advantage of the day to meet up
“I’ve been coming here for 10 years. It gives me the opportunity
to see other alumni, renew acquaintances and visit with friends as
well as the opportunity to eat Colorado-grown food,” Gabel
Most people at Ag Day were happy to support Colorado
“Knowing it’s all from Colorado makes it taste even better,”
said Karl Hoff, a CSU alumnus. “I’ve never had anything at Ag Day
that I didn’t like.”
The tradition has evolved from a small tailgating party to a
“I think it’s a great way to get everyone together. It creates a
sense of community around agriculture,” said Jessica Nash, a senior
art education major.
Even people who do not have a connection to the university
joined the festivities.
“I adopted the (football) team 10 years ago when I first started
going to Ag Day because they always seem to be the underdog. I have
been dressing my son up in a Cam (the Ram) suit since he was six
months old,” said Zoe Stank, a CSU fan.
Stank also pointed out that Ag Day has something for all ages
“There are cockroach races for the kids and live music for the
adults. You even get to take something home with you,” she said,
referring to the Colorado-grown flowers that people received as
While Ag Day has become a family tradition for families like
Stank’s, for others, this year was their first time at the
“I’m a member of the Future Farmers of America and we all came
as a big group to bond. It’s my first time here. I think it’s a
really cool tailgating party and lots of fun,” said Ashton Dilka, a
high school freshman from Briggsdale.
In addition to good food and live music, all of the clubs
affiliated with the Department of Agriculture were also represented
at the celebration.
“Ag Day is a celebration of heritage and food production,” Heird
said. “It is probably the largest food tailgate party in the