Sep 292011
 
Authors: Erik Carman

At a private farm, hidden from public view in the foothills of Fort Collins lives CAM the Ram, the five-decade-long, horn toting, fuzzy mascot of Colorado State University.

CAM has been the face of CSU since students voted for the mascot in the 1960s, said Kraig Peel, an assistant professor of animal science and the faculty advisor for CAM’s handlers.

But how do students 50 years after the initial vote view their mascot?

“Pimp, definitely a pimp,” said senior journalism major Janelle Dam.

According to Peel, CAM spends most of his days relaxing on the farm and hanging out with his two sheep lady friends. When he’s not busy being a ladies’ ram, CAM enjoys attacking dogs and keeping his horns in shape by knocking heads with the older ram on the property.

As a rambouillet ram, a French breed known for their long, impressive horns, Peel said CAM can survive in very harsh environments, comparing him to longtime rival, Ralphie, the buffalo from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“Buffaloes are just dumb,” Peel said. “They just stand around and poop on themselves and smell bad.”

Hannah Tran, a senior journalism major and CTV anchor, summed up the comparison between CU-Boulder and CSU’s mascots, noting the dichotomy between the two animals and calling rams “smaller, more intelligent and humble.”

Peel said the most common question he is asked is how CAM behaves so calmly during events, adding that, despite what some may think, he is not sedated, but merely trained from a young age to be friendly and calm around fans.

“We work hard to make sure he’s never mistreated,” Peel said, “And we never push him past his limit.”

CSU students also get the chance to be part of CAM’s entourage. Senior animal science major Alex Kappert works as a ram handler.

“It’s a great experience” Kappert said. “I’ve met a lot of really cool people.”

Kappert said the job allowed him to meet lots of “big wigs,” people with a lot of pull around campus. This includes CSU President Tony Frank, as well as many other deans from other schools in the state.

A large part of Kappert’s job entails road tripping with CAM around the state. CAM and his crew go anywhere from local Fort Collins Bar-B-Q’s, to places like Steamboat Springs, in order to represent CSU.

The CAM handlers aren’t limited to animal science majors. In fact, Kappert said, they have members from almost every college on campus.

Collegian writer Erik Carman can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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