One of the most popular mascots in college football is ready to retire. The University of Colorado Boulder announced Tuesday that Ralphie V's run has come to a close.
For the past 12 seasons, it's been Ralphie V's job to hype up the crowd at home games by thundering down the field with her student handlers, "Ralphie Runners."
But she hasn't run at the last two games. John Graves, the manager of CU's Ralphie Live Mascot Program, said she hasn't been taking cues from her handlers like she's trained to do.
"For the past two homes games, what's happened is she's starting to run a little bit earlier than we would like her to," Graves said. "Which isn't a safe situation, so we haven't run her."
One reason CU decided to retire Ralphie now was because she's gotten harder to control in her old age.
"As she's aged throughout her career, she's actually sped up as she's running around the field just because she loves to run so much," Graves said. "The previous Ralphies, they've actually slowed down throughout their careers, whereas Ralphie V has gotten faster."
What's retirement for a buffalo like? Better than most humans'. Like her predecessors, Ralphie V will spend the rest of her days on a private ranch, grazing and spending time with her companion buffalo, Graves said.
The search for Ralphie VI is already underway. It's a long, comprehensive process to find the right buffalo for the job, Graves said. In addition to finding a bison who's in good shape and can handle those earth-shaking runs down the field, the buffalo has to have the right demeanor too.
"We want to make sure that we find a new buffalo who's healthy enough to do that, and a buffalo who wants to do that," he said.