Of all the live mascots in college football, there is none more badass than Ralphie, the University of Colorado's beloved live buffalo mascot who leads the team on to the field. All you need to know about Ralphie is that (a) it has always been a female buffalo, and (b) it takes five dudes to handle her as she sprints around Folsom Field. Bevo, UGA and Mike the Tiger are great, but none of them could hang with Ralphie. That's a fact.
There have been five Ralphies in total, and in 2020 that number will grow to six, but not for a reason you might think. On Tuesday, it was announced on cubuffs.com that Ralphie V (the fifth ever live buffalo mascot) was officially retiring, which, judging by past Ralphie retirements, usually means their speed has decreased. That's not the case for Ralphie V, who is being forced to retire because she's running ... wait for it ... TOO fast. What a freaking legend. Here's part of the release from cubuffs.com:
"Ralphie turned 13 in October and is in great health; she receives regular veterinarian check-ups. As the season progressed, she just wasn't having the consistency she had displayed in prior years. With past Ralphies, as they aged, their speed typically decreased; with Ralphie V, she has been so excited to run that she was actually running too fast, which created safety concerns for her and her handlers. She also wasn't consistently responding to cues from her handlers, and her temperament was such that she was held back from leading the team out for CU's last two home games against USC and Stanford."
Usually, whether you're a pro athlete, a CEO or a live freaking mascot, being "forced into retirement" means you've lost a step, the game's passed you by. In Ralphie V's case, she has to retire because she's actually becoming stronger, making her a safety concern. BOSS shit.
"Ralphie V has served the department and the university well," said Colorado athletic director Rick George. "She has been a very special buffalo and has truly been adored by many. We hope she lives for many years to come and look forward to finding her successor."
Ralphie V will make her final appearance on Nov. 23 at the Buffaloes' home game versus Washington, but she'll be there only as a spectator. She led the team on the field 76 times, second only to Ralphie I. Let's just say Ralphie VI has some very big shoes, er, hooves to fill.