|Dedicated to the Preservation of Athletic History at Colorado State University
|Traditions of the Aggies & Rams
|From the school colors to the mascot there have
been a number of traditions throughout the 62
years as the Aggies. Colorado State University
is known as the Rams today but do you know
who the mascots were before that? How did the
school get its colors and what is up with that big
"A" on the mountain west of town? Ever jump at
the sound of a cannon following a touchdown?
Everything you did or did not want to know
about Aggie Traditions. (CSU Traditions too)
|School Colors -Green and Gold
The color most associated with the Aggies and
Colorado State University has been green,
officially described as "Forest Green". Today
the secondary color is gold, officially described
as "Vegas Gold". However, there has been a
long debate of when gold became the
secondary color because during the Aggie era
both gold and orange continued to show up.
According to the February 1893 Collegian the
school colors of "Green and Orange" were
chosen by the first football team and their
"rooters" before the game against Longmont
Academy. There has never been a reason why
green and orange were chosen as the school
colors but in the 1895 Silver Spruce the class
of 1896 had their colors as lavender and
cream . Although it cannot be known for sure,
it is possible green and orange had a
significance toward a particular graduating
These colors remained in tact even after Ellis
banned football in 1894 and resurfaced in
numerous publications into the first decade of
the 20th Century. In 1903, one publication
stated that the school colors of green and
orange stood for "Alfalfa and Squash" for the
agricultural roots of the school. In 1909, the
football team was getting sick from the green
die in their uniforms and the Collegian reported
that the school should change it's colors to
"Orange and blue...a more stable and solid
combination, they appear to match very well."
(Green remained the primary color)
The change to gold appears to coincide with
Charles Lory becoming college president in
Into the 1950's it was easy to see gold (usually
yellow) and orange as the secondary school
color in everything from pennants to football
schedules however, the secondary color
was always described as gold regardless of
how it looked.
In 1993 a true "Vegas Gold" was introduced
when Sonny Lubick took over as head coach
of football. The yellow disappeared and a
bright gold is seen in all CSU uniforms today.
|Ringing the Bell in Victory -
One old tradition lost to the ages is for
freshmen students to ring the bell at
Old Main after a victory. The original
bell (seen above) was cracked around
1919 and the clapper stolen a few
years later. The bell itself was stolen
according to Dr. George Glover
around 1925. A replacement bell was
purchased in 1923 but never hoisted
into the Old Main bell tower. When
Old Main burned down in 1970, there
was no bell in the belfry. (Clarence
Oldemeyer Collection, 1917)
Any visitor to Ft. Collins cannot miss the large white letter "A" on the hog-back
mountain west of town. A closer look at the massive letter shows that it is
actually made up of boulders in the shape of the letter and painted white for
This moniker first showed up in 1923 and was enlarged and painted white in
1924. The letter was placed on the mountain as a form of school pride and to
make a tradition of having the freshmen paint it each year.
Today it is still painted each fall, not just for tradition but because the FAA
requires it to be seen from the air as a land marker for planes. When some
students wanted to remove the "A" and replace it with an "R" in the 1980's it
was the FAA that prevented it from happening.
With Hughes Stadium just below the "A" this moniker remains as the largest and
best reminder that CSU is, was and always will be an agricultural school.
|The ROTC Cannon
As a Land Grant institution, Colorado State University is required to have an ROTC military presence. Durkee Field also acted as the
military training grounds so it is only natural that a cannon sound off at football games. The 1894 team posed beside a cannon showing
the earliest connection with football and the military program.
A September 11, 1937 Collegian article states that the cannon first appeared at football games in 1920 to open and close the games.
The tradition has continued ever since making the ROTC cannon the oldest continuous tradition at Colorado State University, beating
the painting of the "A" by four years. The original cannon was a 75mm Model 1897 French artillery piece (better known as a "French
75") and was first mounted on a wagon and pulled by a large military truck. The Aggie ROTC men would travel to away games like
CU, Denver and Colorado Mines to show their spirit and cause a little trouble along the way sometime shooting the cannon as they
drove down the road.
By the time of the 1937 Collegian article, the 17 year old tradition had become one of the most favorite of Aggies at Colorado State.
With the onset of World War II, the US Government recalled all "French 75's" to be retrofitted for modern warfare. It is unclear at
this time when the original cannon was taken by the US Government but after WW II a loaner cannon was used until 1952.
In 1952, the 5th Army donated the current cannon used at CSU games today. Named "Comatose", this gun is a 1918 French 75 built
in France during WW I. The gun was mounted in to the carriage in 1941 during retrofitting at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.
Records are unavailable to know where "Comatose" went after it's modernization in 1941.
First time visitors, freshmen and forgetful alumni are always the first to jump at the sound of the cannon during the National Anthem
("Bombs Bursting in Air") and scores. This great and lasting tradition is not unique to Colorado State University but it does bring out a
sense of pride when Ram Fans hear the "BOOM" of the longest tradition in school history.