CSU’s endeared mascot, CAM The Ram, has a rich history at the university. But while some stories are told again and again about CAM, others have all but been forgotten.
Something most students don’t know about the CSU mascot is that in the late 1940s he was commonly known as “Meathead.”
Centennial resident and CSU alumnus Nate Bushnell, 83, didn’t hesitate to remind the Collegian staff of the story.
“It happened in the school year 1948,” Bushnell said.
Collegian staffers began a campaign to give the new mascot a name.
At the time, CSU’s school colors were alfalfa (a green) and pumpkin, and the ram seemed a great fit for the Ag school, said Frank Pierz, senior assistant to the Chancellor of the Board of Governors in the CSU system.
Introduced to the school in 1947 by “the Senators” (similar to the Associated Students of CSU now), the ram was to be seen as a symbol of strength.
The Rambouillet Ram was chosen as CSU’s official mascot because not only is the ram a strong animal; it is a multi-purpose one. The breed is one of dominant sheep with high quality wool.
Pierz said Rambouillets are similar to big-horned rams. The difference, he said, is that the horns are closer to the head and don’t spread.
Names like Aries and Meathead were nominated during the campaign, according to previous Collegians.
“It was run like a typical political campaign,” Bushnell said. “The entire school asked to vote. Meathead won.”
Meathead was a good name for the ram, Bushnell said.
But the ram’s name has been and will always officially be C.A.M., Pierz said. Meathead was simply a nickname.
CAM stands for “Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical,” CSU’s former moniker. CSU is currently celebrating its 50th under the current name.
Throughout the years, Pierz said CAM has had many supporters. And in proof, he has a new truck and trailer in which to cruise to the games.
Donated by the Ram Handler program, the Henry/Maxey family and Davidson Gebhardt, CAM made his debut appearance at this year’s Rocky Mountain Showdown against long-time rival CU-Boulder on Saturday.
CAM lives at the Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center in Fort Collins. He is taken care of by a group of eight students dubbed the Ram Handlers, who volunteer their time to train and show CAM across Colorado.
Pierz, a former Ram Handler helper said his experience with the Ram Handlers was amazing.
“It was fun to watch students mature and to remember the good times,” Pierz said. “We laughed a lot.”
The rams that run during the games all have some degree of CAM lineage in them. Animal science tries to maintain all boys for breeding, but not for running.
“When we would get one who could run, he was really a jewel,” Pierz said.
Cory Gardner, a Colorado State Representative and former Ram Handler, said his time with CAM was great.
“We took CAM to a lot of different places,” Gardner said. “California, Tennessee; we even took him into restaurants.”
Although Gardner hasn’t been a CSU student for a few years, he said he is still proud to be a CSU ram.
“Whenever I see CAM, it brings pride of green and gold,” he said. “CAM has been there through thick and thin; he has been on the losing end and the winning end.”
Though the Rams returned empty-handed from Mile High Stadium Saturday, Pierz said he remembers a time when CAM showed CU-Boulder who was boss.
“At a CU football game CAM ran right into a CU Cheerleader,” Pierz said, suppressing laughter. “He really put her into orbit.”
Assistant news editor Nikki Cristello can be reached at email@example.com.