Aaron Harber Launches "Save Ralphie" Campaign
With the flood of reports over the past year of conflict and disunity on University of Colorado campuses, one candidate for the CU governing Board of Regents is stressing the need for unity, and sees its world-famous mascot as a way to bring disparate groups together.
Aaron Harber, an animal rights supporter who has funded rewards for the arrest of those abusing animals who is a candidate for Regent in the 2nd Congressional District, announced a “Save Ralphie!” petition campaign in support of the legendary mascot.
As Ralphie V was being retired after the 2019 football season, PETA and others argued they don’t believe it is appropriate to continue to have the CU mascot race across Folsom Field before home games, despite the fact running is an activity bison do. (bit.ly/RalphieTV).
Harber steadfastly disagrees. “Ralphie is essential to the spirit of community at CU. She is a metaphor for common ground and unity — which are greatly needed in our world today. There are a number of much bigger, pressing issues facing all four of our campuses and the Regents, but none of them resonates with all 650,000 CU students, faculty, staff, researchers, alumni, and others around the world more than whether to continue letting Ralphie run at CU football games,” he explained. He noted that it is natural for bison to run and emphasized the extraordinary care Ralphie receives. He also noted how few universities can claim a mascot with such mystique and brand awareness as CU can.
Harber feels it is so important for school unity and pride to continue the Ralphie tradition that he has launched a separate website dedicated to the uniquely Western bovine who epitomizes the spirit of Colorado and the Western United States. He is encouraging CU fans from around the country and beyond to go to SaveRalphie.com and sign the petition supporting Ralphie. Harber says he will present the names to the University as a sign of support for Ralphie VI. Harber has met, petted, and spoken with three different Ralphies (although he admits the conversation was somewhat one-sided).
Harber’s efforts are being supported by former athletes and alumni across Colorado and the nation including CU great and golf legend Hale Irwin who said, “Ralphie is the lynchpin to a great CU tradition that brings everyone in the CU family together.”
Former CU football All-American and NFL linebacker Matt Russell stated, “Ralphie is undoubtedly the best and most visible college mascot in the country. She represents and embodies everything the University’s athletic programs promote: Strength, Speed, and Toughness.”
CU Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee and USA Track and Field Olympian Alan Culpepper opined, “It would be a colossal misrepresentation to think the Ralphie program was anything less than a tangible reminder of shared values, commitment to highest level of character, and a common belief that collectively we can do more if we rally together than any of us can do alone.”
Harber unequivocally stated, “As a member of the CU Board of Regents, and as part of my support for the Athletic Department and everyone in the CU family, I always will ensure Ralphie receives the most humane and highest quality treatment so her proud tradition remains part of Folsom Field.” Harber’s detailed statement on Athletics at the University of Colorado also can be found on the Save Ralphie! Website.
COMPLETE STATEMENTS FROM FORMER CU ATHLETES
“Ralphie is undoubtedly the best and most visible college mascot in the country. She represents and embodies everything the University’s athletic programs promote: Strength, Speed, and Toughness, along with the imagery of the Wild West. Thousands of student athletes have run proudly with Ralphie. Fans arrive early just to watch her take her lap. She is a revered and esteemed member of the University and its athletic programs. I hope every Buff fan around the world supports Ralphie by signing our petition.” — Matt Russell, former CU football All-American and Butkus Award winner, and former NFL Detroit Lions linebacker (currently the Director of Player Personnel for the Denver Broncos).
“Ralphie is the lynchpin to a great CU tradition that brings everyone in the CU family together. No other college can produce the excitement of seeing Ralphie run the length of the field — energizing the crowd, the team, and everyone watching the game across the entire country. I hope everyone supports Aaron’s effort to save Ralphie by signing the petition. Go Buffs!” — Hale Irwin, winner of 20 PGA Tour events followed by 45 Champions Tour victories. His string of 86 consecutive tournaments without missing a cut is the fourth best in the PGA Tour history, behind Byron Nelson, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. First golfer to win over $3 million in one season. At the University of Colorado, he was a two-time All-Big Eight defensive back and played quarterback, as well as being an academic All-American. As a Buff golfer, he was the NCAA champion.
“Irrespective of the exceptional treatment and care that the Ralphie program provides, Ralphie represents much more than a live animal being paraded around for spectator enjoyment. It would be a colossal misrepresentation to think the Ralphie program was anything less than a tangible reminder of shared values, commitment to highest level of character and a common belief that collectively we can do more if we rally together than any of us can do alone.” — Alan Culpepper, CU Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee and a 2000 & 2004 United States Track and Field USA Olympian.
“Everyone should know Ralphie is treated with love and respect by her handlers and receives the best possible care. As a former player and long-term Boulder supporter of Buff football, I know the energy that having Ralphie run out before a kickoff creates in the stadium. Ralphie is a true representative of all of CU! Support Ralphie and CU by adding your name to the petition.”— Phil Irwin, former CU Football Team Captain
“There is no greater feeling of exhilaration than leading the CU football team onto Folsom Field behind a charging buffalo in front of cheering fans. Those same fans making sure they already are in their seats in time to see Ralphie. How many students, current and past, formed their desire to attend the University of Colorado the first time they crowded around Ralphie’s pen to get a glimpse of a real buffalo? As a Ralphie Runner and former Coordinator of the Ralphie Runner Program, I know firsthand that every Ralphie was treated with extraordinary care, dignity, and respect. Ralphie is a college tradition second to none. We must make sure she remains as important a symbol of CU Boulder as the Flatirons are of Boulder.” — Kenneth Kramer, CU Alumnus, former “Ralphie Runner,” and Athletic Department Ralphie Runner Program Coordinato
DISCLAIMER: All statements represent only the endorsements of the individuals cited above in favor of the “Save Ralphie!” campaign. The statements are personal in nature and do not represent the opinions or positions of any of the organizations the endorsers previously represented or currently represent. Any images used by this initiative are under license from the University of Colorado and do not represent its endorsement. The Petition submitted to CU will contain only names and will not include email addresses. The email addresses collected by Harber for Colorado and Aaron Harber are limited to their use and will not be sold or otherwise conveyed to any other party.